Miss Alabama Slams Trolls Who Criticized Her Appearance

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Miss Alabama Sara Milliken has hit back at social media critics who mocked and ridiculed her over her size. The plus-sized beauty pageant victor wrote a lengthy Instagram post saying a person’s heart should be the most beautiful thing about them, and hurtful comments online can have an enormous impact on their target. “Something that you type over a screen can have a lasting impression on people,” she wrote. 

In media interviews, however, Ms. Milliken said she expected some cruel comments when she entered the contest. She explained that while she knew there would be “hatred” and “critics,” that did not make it right. 

The comments directed at Milliken included people asking whether “that is considered attractive in Alabama” and “I thought this was a beauty pageant.” 

However, the 23-year-old also received a lot of support, with several social media users noting that she had handled the mockery gracefully. Tracie Stephens-Brooks, who knows Ms. Milliken, posted on Twitter that “To know is to love her,” adding that she had a heart of gold. 

Milliken entered the contest by answering a Memorial Day advertisement and then completing a series of interviews. Pageant organizers say they judged applicants based on personality, confidence, and communication skills and that the aim is to celebrate women of various sizes and physical appearances. 

Miss Alabama will now head to Florida in November for the National American Miss pageant finals, which describes itself as an event for “today’s girl.” The contest’s organizers say the pageant is unlike any other and aims to increase confidence by emphasizing positive self-image and celebrating the “individuality of American girls.” 

While including larger women in beauty pageants is relatively new, the Miss Plus Size America event has run since 2002. Founded by Melissa Stamper of Nashville, Tennessee, the pageant hoped to present an alternative view of female beauty, and the title’s current holder is Shamone Garcia of South Carolina. The contest is open to applicants size 14 or higher.