Miss Indiana praised for 'normal' body
Nia Sanchez, aka Miss Nevada, may have won Miss USA this week, but it was Mekayla Diehl, 25-year-old Miss Indiana, that grabbed Twitter's attention. Why? Because she appears to actually possess a very small amount of body fat on her stomach.
Diehl, who is also the first registered Native American to represent Indiana in the pageant, stood out during the bikini portion of the two-hour-long competition for the fact that she had womanly curves.
Don't get us wrong, the 5-foot-8, size 8 beauty queen and pageant dress store attendant still has toned arms, a truly strong core as well as legs that look like they were crafted from 1,000 lunges - but, unlike the other contestants, she had some curves.
"I worked hard on my body without obsessing over being too skinny and I couldn't be more proud," Diehl tweeted in response to the flurry of tweets in praise of her 'normal' body.
We worry about the rush to praise Diehl for being 'normal' - as bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and no one figure is the norm.
That said, it is refreshing to see a woman in Miss USA look slightly different from the Barbie-shaped pageant norm.
On a different, more important, note, Diehl has chosen child abuse support as her advocacy project for the time in which she wears the Miss Indiana crown, and for personal reasons.
Diehl was sexually abused when she was only eight, according to local Indiana paper Goshen News. Due to substance abuse issues, her parents were unable to give her the help and care she needed and so she and her brother were adopted by their grandparents.
"At first I was sad. And then I found my outlets. My grandmother was very encouraging. Anything that I wanted to try to do, she tried to find the best way. I had horses. We tried 4-H, I tried saddle club. Dancing was my emotional outlet. I loved to dance, and that became my emotional release," Diehl told Indiana station WNDU.
The fact that Diehl is willing to be so open about her past to help others makes her role as an advocate all the stronger.
Here are some Twitter reactions to Diehl's 'normal' bikini body ...