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Eliminating body shaming through pageantry

2022-10-14  Paheja Siririka

Eliminating body shaming through pageantry

Miss Plus Size Namibia 2022 Mareli Snyman has described her winning of the prestigious crown as surreal.

“On stage when the top three were announced, I felt calm. To be quite honest, I did not expect what was going to happen. When they called my name, my knees nearly gave in,” she said of the contest finale that took place in Windhoek on Sunday.

Michelle Madawas Mushimba was crowned the first princess, and Vezembouua Jorokee Ngaizeko second princess.

Snyman told VIBEZ! that a wave of excitement and nervousness washed over her, and only when the crown was placed on her head did she know it was real. 

“Until today I am still in shock. But I am thankful for this opportunity,” expressed the South African-born Snyman.

“As a plus-size woman in Namibia, I have realised that being bigger than the ‘normal’ has put enormous stress on our Namibian women and their mental health.”

“Growing up, I have never been the skinny girl – the girl who everyone wanted to be friends with. I was self-conscious most of my life growing up. I tried to be like other girls, tried to fit in a society where women were constantly criticised for being authentic and a bit ‘bigger’ than the norm.”

Snyman is a registered nurse, and finds extreme satisfaction in her work and in helping people.

“I have done everything from helping mothers bring their babies into this world to holding the hands of people going out of it. As a nurse, I have a lot of compassion, and I have a lot of love to give. This platform is the best place for me to express my caring personality and help people at the same time,” she shared.

Snyman added that as a public figure and ambassador for plus-size women in Namibia, her main aim is to help people understand body positivity, and advocate for self-acceptance about body images. 

“I firmly believe that we are all made differently for a reason. God had a vision with you as an individual, and He loves us for every extra cm on our body. I want to empower women to be confident in their skin and not just accept their bodies, but love it.”

The beauty contest for plus-size and curvy women aims to focus mainly on the elimination of body shaming and the associated psychological effects in society through the emboldening of individualism.

As the only pageant for curvy women in Namibia, Miss Plus Size Namibia (MPSN) takes great pride in its contribution and commitment to the development of the country.

Organiser Margo Shivolo told VIBEZ! that they celebrate body diversity and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. 

She said MPSN has the important role of implementing change by participating in projects aimed at uplifting the community and empowering women. 

“Not only is she a beacon of hope for the plus-sized little girl or the plus-sized woman, but she is the official representative of our country, and is expected to participate in international beauty contests and fashion shows,” she said of the pageant’s winner.

Shivolo added that from the moment MPSN is crowned, she becomes a role model and has to exude excellence, elegance, benevolence and love.

Snyman received N$10 000 and a modelling contract, while the first princess was awarded N$5 000 and a modelling contract. The second princess received N$2 500 and a modelling contract.

2022-10-14  Paheja Siririka

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