A size 10 Northampton woman is hoping to promote awareness about beauty pageants after being told she 'needed to lose as much weight as possible'.
Zoiey Smale, 28, originally from Northampton, recently won a Miss United Continents UK competition back in June and was set to compete in the Miss United Continents final in Ecuador this September.
However, she claims competition organisers told her in order to fit their criteria and have a chance of winning she needed to "get a diet plan" and "lose as much weight as possible."
She told the Northampton Chronicle & Echo: "I have subsequently handed back my crown and want to promote awareness of how there are two tiers to the pageant competitions.
"One requires you to be escorts for rich men pumping money into the system and the other are genuine competitions that promote charity work and positivity.
"I would love to speak up and tell young girls to watch out for these scam competitions."
But Miss United Continents UK says the pageant has been taken out of context.
On Facebook the director issued a statement. She said: "As the UK director having worked for many years in this industry, I believe that I have a good understanding as to what is required to be successful and it’s certainly no secret that this involves a lot of commitment, dedication, and hard work, just as with any other competitive environment.
"It certainly does not mean, however, that contestants are required to or should pursue any form of extreme dieting or the like, as such approaches are simply out dated and are not supported by either myself or the Miss United Continents Pageant.
"As with all other international pageants, upon completion of the national event, the winner's details are then submitted to head office for evaluation and feedback, which is then given to all contestants in order to prepare themselves in the best possible way for the finals and is purely advisory."
On Facebook Zoiey wrote: "Having been in the industry for over 10 years I have seen it all, from amazing competitions to international pageant directors bullying young aspiring girls into believing the only way to be successful is to be thin.
"I'm speaking from first hand as eight years ago I was one of those girls. Those rogue competitions that claim to be pageants... yet insist you eat less, parade around in a bikini for a few days and sit on the arm of a man over dinner whilst pushing an olive around a plate.
"Honey let me tell you, this is NOT a pageant. I was branded 'fat' because I am size 10.
"I actually believed that I was so disgusting that no one would ever love me. How sad is that?"
She adds: "... I will be handing back my crown and wish the new title holder the very best of luck."