Mandurah's Rattana Luangnan is using her platform to stand up to the beauty industry's unrealistic standards for women.
Ms Luangnan was Miss Global Thailand 2021 and 2022, and is a finalist in Miss Multiverse Australia 2022. Having graduated high school in 2017 and only beginning her pageant career two years ago, she is "proud" of her success so far, however is nowhere near the end of her journey.
...you have to be skinny, if you aren't then you aren't beautiful... every morning I woke up, my family would criticise me.
"I grew up suffering from low self esteem, negative body image and an unhealthy relationship with food," Ms Luangnan said.
"I found myself stress eating and starving myself to lose weight. I grew up in Thailand, our beauty standards are very strict, you have to be skinny, if you aren't then you aren't beautiful. Every morning I woke up, my family would criticise me."
She described how when growing up in Asia, beauty pageants were more popular to watch than the Olympics.
"This is the little girl's dream to be a beauty queen.
"I want everyone to see that an average girl like me can make it up there in beauty pageants. I want them to see their own reflection in me. Being beautiful does not mean that you have to look like Barbie," Ms Luangnan said.
Ms Luangnan said unfortunately the beauty industry was still promoting the idea of 'perfection' and that every young girl should strive to look like a model.
"The pageant industry is still promoting this. Beauty is the biggest part of pageants. Many girls work out many times a week to get that perfect body, I don't think it's necessary. The world is changing, you shouldn't have to push yourself too hard, you should try to be different," Ms Luangnan said.
Describing how she prepared for pageants, she said she does exercise regularly and was a big believer in eating well and exercising for health, rather than to look a certain way.
"I still think exercise is what you need to keep your body healthy and eating healthy as well. You shouldn't starve yourself," Ms Luangnan said.
In between working full-time as an aged carer in Mandurah and training for pageants, Ms Luangnan is working hard towards her dreams, despite this being a career she never thought she'd pursue.
Her aspirations are not only set on winning her upcoming pageants and creating change within the beauty industry, she is also hoping to break into the fashion industry.
"Being my height, only 165cm, it is less than the minimum requirement of models. It's my dream to be able to walk the runway, but I'm not tall enough or skinny enough.
"I feel sad, I feel disappointed, but I do understand the fashion industry stands for those tall and skinny people. I do hope in the future things will change.
"I don't want anybody else to feel the same way that I did, I want to encourage women to feel that they are beautiful."
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