Every year, the Miss Universe pageant takes place in a hall that’s glamorous and glitzy. And like the setting, the women who take part in this competition are a visual spectacle. These air-brushed beauties trot in their perfectly soft curls and twirl gracefully in their gowns. The saccharine sweetness of their calculated, measured responses is masked as self-confidence.

But to be honest, the Miss Universe contestants are products of a formula that’s tried and tested. To be part of this pageant, every woman needs to be endowed with certain characteristics. They have to look tall, lean, and curvaceous and with a face that’s blessed with full lips, arched eyebrows and high cheekbones. And whoever wins the crown must be frozen in this frame until she passes it on.

One former Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado stepped out of this requirement and she was punished and publicly body shamed by President Donald Trump. Machado was instructed to work out in front of 90 media outlets and cameras. She later developed anorexia and bulimia, eating disorders that took her a while to recover from.

It’s difficult to imagine that recent Miss Universes would be subject to such humiliation but the organisation still upholds conventional stereotypes about beauty, womanhood and femininity. However, a rare opportunity has presented itself in the form of 20-year-old Malaysian contestant, Evita Delmundo.

 

Be a girl that beautiful to see but hard to catch 🌼

A post shared by Ave Evita Patcey Delmundo💋 (@evita_delmundo) on Mar 23, 2017 at 7:22pm PDT

This aspiring pageant queen, who just auditioned for Miss Universe 2017, isn’t your typical beauty. She suffers from a rare medical condition called Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus. She is covered in moles from head-to-toe. In school, she was bullied for her physical appearance and was called a ‘monster.’

Although Delmundo’s confidence took a hit, she never stopped it from making her participate in everyday events. She took up the guitar, trained her voice and attended a church camp where she interacted with people from different walks of life.

 

It's my dream ❤ Thank God 🙏

A post shared by Ave Evita Patcey Delmundo💋 (@evita_delmundo) on Jun 17, 2017 at 4:35am PDT

“This was probably the first time I truly started accepting who I was, how I look,” she told Elle Magazine.  The 20-year-old has become a fashion inspiration for many on Instagram who applaud her strength and courage.

However, there’s still a long way for Delmundo to go. Her audition is yet to be accepted on a national stage and later, on a world stage. In any case, she isn’t disheartened. Delmundo said that she would audition for other pageants if she doesn’t get selected by her country for Miss Universe.