‘I’m first plus-size Miss Universe contestant but cruel trolls call me a whale’

The first plus-size Miss Universe contestant has slammed online trolls for making hateful comments about her weight as she opens up about her health issues.

Miss Nepal, Jane Dipika Garrett, made history when she competed in the Miss Universe 2023 pageant, which was held in El Salvador earlier this month. As she took to the stage, the 22-year-old described herself as a "curvy woman who doesn’t follow certain beauty standards".

The beauty queen quickly became a favourite among fans on social media and ended up finishing in the top 20 at the competition, which saw contestants from 90 countries vying for the Miss Universe crown. Jane was blown away by how far she advanced in the competition and the support she received on stage.

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"I got the loudest applause from the whole entire audience. And that felt so good because it was like a breakthrough moment for me and for society that they see something different, that they see real size beauty," she told Fox News.

But Jane, who says she's "always been naturally big-boned", revealed not everyone was supportive of her as she recalled "cruel" comments she's had from trolls online. She said: "I see things like, 'Oh, she's a whale,' or 'That's disgusting. I'm going to vomit.' Or like, 'She's promoting obesity.' 'Why don't you go to the gym?'"

Jane added: "It's like they don't even know my story. They don't even know what I'm going through." The beauty pageant star revealed she suffers from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects how the ovaries work and causes symptoms including excessive hair growth, irregular periods, acne, hair loss and weight gain.

"It's very easy for us to gain weight. Even if we just look at a piece of cake, we can gain weight," Jane explained. She revealed she's been "curvy" since she was a child and struggled with eating disorders growing up because she would compare herself to thin models.

"I used to starve myself. I had a lot of eating disorders and mental health issues when I was a child because I wanted to be a model. And all the girls around me were very thin, especially when you're a teenager… because that's just their body type. And I would compare myself to a lot of the girls there, and I would feel like I'm not good enough," she said.

Jane also revealed she recently "gained a lot of weight" because of her PCOS, which took a toll on her mental health and self-esteem because she thought she "wasn't beautiful enough". But she was finally able to feel confident in her own skin again after developing a positive mindset and learning to love herself.

"It's about being confident in your own skin and accepting who you are, where you are at. So I had to really remove all of those messages that were coming from society as well as coming from my own mind. So I had to really brainwash myself again and accept who I am and love myself," she said.

When it comes to criticism about her body, Jane reveals most of it comes from people on social media who she tries to just ignore. She said: "I don't let it bother me… Society can be very cruel. People can be very cruel sometimes."

Weight gain isn't the only PCOS symptom that Jane struggles with. She said: "The other thing is mood swings, a lot of fatigue. So every day, like, it's very difficult because we just continuously feel tired.

"We also get a lot of brain fog… And it's one of the leading causes of infertility as well among women. So it can be difficult for us to have children." But Jane said she follows a strict lifestyle to help lessen the effects of PCOS, which includes going to the gym, meditating, doing affirmations and eating a "pretty balanced diet".

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