Deranda Butler recalls what it was like competing against the tall and thin girls in a modeling competition - and winning.
I stood on the sparkling stage, with a sign that read 102 around my neck, waiting for my results in the modeling competition when I began reminiscing: I remembered those days when I used to do crazy, crazy things to look like the girls next to me: I would only eat one meal a day, take weight loss pills and I struggled with bulimia. But on the day of the competition, I proudly posed on stage — short, and not exactly thin as a rail. And next to me were the tall girls, with long hair and slim frames.
We all know the distorted images of Barbie dolls and how the slender model photos in magazines influence little girls. I too questioned what “beautiful” was when I didn’t look like the women on television.
Ultimately, I decided not to let the media or society intimidate me. After all, beauty comes in many forms. And I knew the judges agreed, when I heard the announcer say: “The winner is contestant 102!” I had won.
I’m glad to see America’s ideal image evolving. I look up to women like plus-sized model Queen Latifah who helps motivate girls to be proud of what they look like — because beauty is also on the inside. Sometimes, I wish boys could understand this too.