East Ham beauty queen uses pageantry to promote positive body image

Pageant queen Mya Amarise. Picture: Ken Mears

Pageant queen Mya Amarise. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

A pageant queen from Newham is using her position in the beauty industry to promote a positive message about body image.

Pageant queen Mya Amarise. Picture: Ken Mears

Pageant queen Mya Amarise. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Mya Amarise, from East Ham, who goes by the name of Lady Mya, got into pageanting six years ago, after a divorce left her low in confidence.

The 41-year-old, who at the time was a housewife with no GCSEs, has since gone on to represent plus size women, speak as an ambassador in Palestine, and build a medical centre in Pakistan.

“I want pageants to be open to plus size women,” Mya said.

“We have a lot of body shaming going on. I’m on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and every time I look at posts it’s all about body shaming. These pageants can give you courage – they’ve given me courage in how I look, what I wear and how I talk.”

Mya entered her first pageant when she was living in Chigwell in 2013. The mum-of-four, who entered as Miss Essex, made it into the top 10 of 300 women. “When we had the day of the competition, I was nervous, I was petrified, I was just this housewife at the time,” she said.

“But in all three rounds, I scored 10 out of 10. I won, and was crowned Miss British Beauty Curve.”

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Mya went on to compete in Miss UN, Miss Commonwealth International, and most recently, Miss International Curve, in October, which she won. But alongside the pageantry, she decided to get her education, and start working in human rights.

“I was approached by the president an NGO, who wanted to see if I would stand for an ambassador for human rights,” she said.

“I had no GCSEs, I was just a normal woman. But when the NGOs got in touch, I thought, I want to get involved with human rights work.

“I have always been in a bubble around my own little family, but I went and did my GCSEs, and I did a business degree at college.

“I wanted to show that a single mother could do these things too. If ladies want to pursue their dream, they should do it.”

Mya will be representing Pakistan again later in January, and hopes one day to set up her own pageant for curvy women.

“Every lady and guy is beautiful, no matter what size,” she said.

“I have a big butt, a big chest, and I don’t care. Embrace your own body. We have lost ourselves in the daily ritual, but I would say, find yourself. “Give yourself one hour in your day to think about yourself and tell yourself you’re beautiful. Embrace your own body and that will boost your confidence.”