If pageants have taught us anything, it’s that beauty in the pageant world is based on a bikini-ready body, healthy hair and flawless skin.
But sometimes it takes someone like Evita Delmundo – who was born with moles all over her body – to shake up the pageant world’s perception of beauty and help bring those outdated attitudes into the 21st century.
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Recently, the 20-year-old auditioned for Miss Universe Malaysia 2018 and is now on a mission to show everyone that beauty is not only skin deep.
“It’s always been a dream for me to try out for Miss Universe Malaysia,” Delmundo said to Elle Malaysia. “I feel like it’s a good way for me to showcase my uniqueness and newfound confidence, and hopefully I can also inspire others.”
But Delmundo admits that growing up and living with her skin condition wasn’t easy.
“I got bullied in primary school and the other kids would call me names like ‘Monster’ or ‘Chipsmore,’ which was really tough to swallow as a young girl,” she said. “I was really timid and I shied away as I didn’t know how to deal with it all.”
It wasn’t until she attended church camp at the age of 16 when she really began to accept herself.
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At first, Delmundo said she had thought about removing her moles. But after doctors told her the removal process could be risky to her health, she said she just had to accept her body as it was.
Despite her confidence today, Delmundo – who has over 45,000 followers on Instagram – admits that she still gets stares from strangers and judgmental comments on her social media pages.
“None of us are born perfect and all of us have our own strengths and weaknesses,” she said. “So don’t see any of your flaws as a barrier to achieving what you want. At the end of the day, everyone has something special about them, so be proud of whatever makes you ‘you.’”
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The pageant hopeful is currently waiting to hear back from Miss Universe Malaysia to see if she has been chosen.
Delmundo isn’t the first to redefine beauty in the pageant and modelling worlds.
In 2012, transgender model Jenna Talackova made history by being the first transgender female to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant.
While Talackova didn’t win the title, she did finish among the top 12, CNN reported.
Canadian model Winnie Harlow, who appeared as a contestant on the 21st cycle of America’s Next Top Model, was born with vitiligo – a skin condition that makes parts of her skin white and other parts dark.
She has appeared in the pages of Spanish and Italian Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Ebony, among others. She was also featured in a Swarovski campaign and in a commercial for Sprite, according to her website.