MANILA – Miss Universe Canada 2016 Siera Bearchell speaks up about how it feels to be relatively "larger" than other candidates in the pageant.
In an Instagram post, Bearchell said she was asked how it feels to be "larger" that the other Miss Universe candidates.
"'How does it feel to be so much... larger than the other delegates?' I was just asked this question in a press junket by a member of the media. I was left almost speechless. I thought, 'How does it feel to be myself? How does it feel to be confident in who I am? How does it feel to fulfill my dream of representing Canada on the Miss Universe stage? How does it feel to be a role model for so many young women who struggle to find someone to look up to? How does it feel to redefine beauty?'" she said.
"My answer- It feels great," Bearchell added.
In a separate interview, Bearchell said being confident is more important than one's looks.
"This competition is more than what we look like. It's about being comfortable with who we are, it's about sharing a message that is important to us," she said, reacting to questions about her weight gain.
Earlier this month, Bearchell also reacted to body-shamers who told her she is "losing points" in the pageant because of her weight gain.
In an interview on ANC's Headstart on Friday, Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz included Bearchell in her top 5 Miss Universe 2016 candidates.
She, however, said the 23-year-old Canadian beauty needs to shed some weight.
"If Canada could lose 8 pounds, I love her face. Am I right? She’s beautiful," she said.
It was previously announced that plus-size model Ashley Graham will be the backstage host of the 65th Miss Universe pageant, set to be held in Manila on January 30.
The move is considered groundbreaking for beauty pageants, which are known for having contestants with lean or slim bodies.
Last year, reigning titleholder Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines lauded Mirella Paz Baylon for being the first plus-size contestant to make it to the Top 10 of the Miss Peru pageant.