A Rotorua wahine Māori is on a mission to spread a positive message about body image to other young women across the region.
Anita Paul says young people look on social media, seeing women with curvier bodies and think that's how they are supposed to be.
"It starts from social media," she said. "It gives off an unreal perspective of what a woman should look like and I think most young girls and women are going for that."
Paul is one of 25 contestants in the Miss Rotorua Pageant. She is a single mother of six children, four of whom live with her, and she has an inspiring story of survival.
Suffering all her life from anxiety and other mental illnesses took a toll.
"I imprisoned myself in my own home," she said. "I was too scared to do shopping by myself or even with somebody."
Now she's preparing to star in an upcoming reality series showcasing the highs and lows of pageant life and incredible stories of resilience and mana.
"When it came time, that first Sunday that we met up, I saw the cameras and I was like 'oh no, no, do I turn back'. The first few weeks were really daunting, you know, cameras everywhere, and then the third week I was like 'sweet, these cameras don't bother me any more'."
Paul says the true beauty of this event lies in the diversity it is showcasing.
"You don't have to have the perfect body shape. This pageant is different and I reckon it should be like this for other pageants as well."
Miss Rotorua is half way through its stiletto boot camp with the winner crowned on September 18.
Video journalist, Delilah Whaitiri is also a contestant in Miss Rotorua 2021.
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