Britain’s biggest beauty contest saw dozens of plus-sized women battle it out to be crowned the nation’s top plus-sized model.
Size 18 Rebecca Argent came out on top of the coveted Miss British Beauty Curve competition, while 16-stone stunner Katherine Henry won the over 30s category.
The annual competition aims to prove that big really is beautiful, and saw 27 contestants ranging from size 14 to a hefty size 26, battle it out for the coveted crown in two categories.
Rebecca, who won a regional qualifier in her home town of Preston, Lancs., was over the moon at coming out on top – because it means she’s finally beaten the bullies who made her life a misery.
The gorgeous 19-year-old shop-worker said: “This is the best day of my life – I can’t stop crying.
“I’ve always felt discriminated against and nervous because of being a bigger girl.
“I used to be the shy quiet girl who was bullied because she’s fat.
“Doing this has changed me completely – I’d never have stood up on a stage in swimwear or spoken in front of a crowd before entering.
“The best part about winning is being a positive role models to girls who were bullied in school like I was -to show them they don’t have to be a size zero to be beautiful.
“They can be curvaceous and still come away with a big sparkly crown.”
The winner of the ‘Ms’ title – for women aged 30 plus – was 31-year-old Katherine Henry, who beat eight contestants to win first place.
The size 20 credit controller, from Oxted, Surrey, said: “Words can’t even describe how I felt when I heard my name being called.
“When I entered, my goal was to just love every second – to walk away with the crown feels incredible.
“It’s a big thing for bigger girls to say ‘yes we’re going to flaunt our curves’.
“I wore a cover-up when I strutted on the stage in the swimwear round, but when I stood in front of the judges I threw it off to reveal my floral bikini.
“I was there to show off my body, not to cover it up.
“I want to get the message out to younger girls and other women that everyone can be gorgeous.
“The word ‘beautiful’ is not just for the skinny girls. No matter what shape or size you are, it’s really important to celebrate it.”
The annual competition – which is now in its third year and is open to women sized 14 and above – was judged by a panel of six including four former winners of the title.
The night was hosted by last year’s winner and part-time model Emily Blake, 25, who said it felt ‘surreal’ to be presenting the pageant after taking the title a year ago.
She added: “I’m honoured to be back here introducing a whole new set of ladies who are celebrating their size.”
The round women’s rounds included swimwear, fashionwear and evening dress.
Tears were shed as Rebecca and Katherine were adorned in sparkling crowns and sashes, handed a bouquet of roses and a certificate each, and given a goody bag of GHD hair products.
Fellow judge Lady Amarise, 38, who won the competition in 2013, said the judges were looking for women who ‘truly love their bodies’ above everything else in the winner.
She added: “The competition is all about accepting what your body looks like, embracing it and owning it.
“We want everyone competing to be proud of their curvy body, which is healthy and sexy.
“I looked for a winner who knows that her natural body is beautiful and isn’t afraid to show it.
“It is a brave thing to get up on stage in front of a room full of people wearing a swimsuit, so all of the girls have done amazingly well to be here doing that.
“This was their moment to send out a message to women everywhere – that you can be big and beautiful. These ladies are living proof of that.”