Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell using 'self-love' to fight Instagram body-shamers
'We always focus on the things we wish we could change rather than loving everything we are'
How do you fight back against body shaming on social media? For Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell, all you need is love.
"As soon as I started to love who I was rather than always trying to fit what I thought society wanted me to be, I gained a whole new side of life," the 23-year-old Moose Jaw, Sask., native said in a series of Instagram posts.
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Her comments came after users questioned why she had apparently gained weight. And while Bearchell conceded she is not as lean as she was when she was 16 or 20 years old, she notes that she is "more confident, capable, wise, humble and passionate than ever before."
"No matter how little I ate and how much weight I lost, I constantly compared myself to others and felt like I could still lose more," she wrote.
She said she would sometimes workout for hours and only eat a protein bar, which made her struggle to fall asleep because she was so hungry.
Bearchell said she "was miserable, self-conscious and I never felt good enough" until she learned to love the skin she's in and accept that people's bodies, much like their lives, "are fluid, dynamic and ever-changing."
"We always focus on the things we wish we could change rather than loving everything we are," she wrote.
Bearchell said girls and women among her over 12,000 Instagram followers have been reposting and sharing her comments, and she hopes the messages of "self-worth, self-acceptance and self-love" will continue to resonate.
"My fellow ladies, remember that true beauty and validation start from within."
Bearchell, who was crowned Miss Universe Canada last summer in Toronto, is a law school student at the University of Saskatchewan. She's an entrepreneur — having launched her clothing brand Watered Down Apparel — and is also a former Miss Saskatchewan.
She is currently in the Philippines to compete in the Miss Universe 2016 pageant, which will be co-hosted by plus-sized model Ashley Graham and held on Jan. 30.