March 20, 2023
Former Miss Teen USA Kamie Crawford recalls being called 'obese' in size 0: 'I was the shortest I ever was in my life'

Former Miss Teen USA Kamie Crawford recalls being called ‘obese’ in size 0: ‘I was the shortest I ever was in my life’

Kamie Crawford says she was called “obese” in size 0. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

He figures is Yahoo Life’s body image series, delving into the journeys of influential and inspiring people as they explore what body confidence, body neutrality and self-love mean to them.

Between co-hosting MTV’s breakout reality docuseries Catfish and making pageantry history, 30-year-old Kamie Crawford is no stranger to the ups and downs of life in the public eye. But despite how luxurious it may seem from the outside, Crawford says it’s not all tiaras and sashes.

“[There] a lot of haters,” the Maryland native told Yahoo Life.

Teen pageantry has been a much-watched competitive medium since its inception, and Crawford saw how tough the industry can be on contestants who deviate from the norm when she competed and won Miss Teen USA 2010.

“When I competed, I heard that I was obese, [the] fattest Miss Teen USA,” she says, explaining that the ostracism didn’t stop at her height.

“As for my skin tone, I was the first Black Miss Teen USA in a decade. I heard I wasn’t black enough to be considered the first Black Miss Teen USA in 10 years, all kinds of things… I was like, “Oh? Not dark enough? Obese? Ok, that’s interesting news,” she said.

Crawford won her first-ever pageant, Miss Teen Maryland, in November 2009, and won Miss Teen USA the following year. But the joys of going from ceremonial novice to national winner in less than three years have been slightly clouded by the unwarranted comments about his size. These statements were particularly concerning for Kamie, who says she was the thinnest she has ever competed.

“I was the smallest I’ve ever been in my life. But I was doing everything in a healthy way. I was eating five times a day. I was training every day, twice a day for three hours each, for a few months leading up to the pageant, so I probably went from a size 4-6 to a size 0,” she says.

But due to the age range of competitors, participants are often at different stages of development, which is evident when they take the stage together during competitions.

“I was 17, and you’re competing against girls aged 14 to 19. So imagine a 14-year-old girl standing next to a 17-year-old woman, almost 18, almost. You’re going to look different , and everyone is different. Everyone’s body is different. And they’re all valid and beautiful in their own way. But there’s no way to compare a 19-year-old to a 14-year-old. If you were to compare your 19 year old body to your 14 year old body, I’m sure they would look a little different,” she says.

At the time, the body positivity movement hadn’t quite taken off yet, notes Crawford, who says society was still relying on the slim-food culture of the early years.

“We were still getting back into low-rise jeans in the early 2000s. We weren’t there yet. It was a different time, that’s for sure,” Crawford says.

Luckily, she had an immaculate support system that allowed her to develop an inscrutable sense of self.

“I thank my mom for being a great advocate for self-love,” she says. “I’m the eldest of six daughters and my mum tells us that we look beautiful and amazing and the best, every day. If I didn’t have that, I don’t know how I would have gotten through this time.”

Crawford, who comes from Jamaican lineage, says cultural differences also helped her gain confidence from an early age.

“My family is from Jamaica, and when it comes to, like, body positivity, it’s just sort of naturally ingrained in us…I think the view of body image is so different in other places in the world. world than it is here in the United States, and the value placed on thinness just isn’t the same elsewhere,” she says.

Her self-confidence, careful curation of various components both internal and external, would be incomplete without the aid of a solid beauty care routine, she says.

In addition to skin and hair care, Kamie doesn’t play with her pearly whites.

“I had braces for two years before I started high school. I remember having my braces removed right before the first day of freshman year and I was so excited, but also so sad because that I thought my braces were so cute,” she says.

This commitment continues in its latest partnership with Crest and its new preventive toothpaste Densify.

“I’ve been using Crest for years since my pageant days, using different whitening products they have. So now I’m not a teenager anymore. I take better preventative care all around when it comes to my skin – I feel like we hear a lot about it, like “take retinols, wear SPF every day”… But we don’t necessarily take the same care when it comes to our teeth.” Crest Densify, she says, helps with that. “Like, I’m just trying to stay young. That’s all I want to do.” she says.

Her desire to say young aside, Crawford is immensely grateful that her self-love journey took off long before social media hit its current peak, because she was able to cut through the early noise with ease.

“My opinion of myself is more important than anyone else’s opinion of me, and I had to live with that,” she says. “Otherwise I would have succumbed to everything people had to say about me.”

While Gen-Z has the added challenge for teens to navigate what body positivity looks like in a hypercritical digital age, Crawford has nothing but faith in the next generation’s quest for self-love.

“At that time, the media didn’t perpetuate body positivity or truly diverse bodies. It wasn’t, it wasn’t like it is now. That’s why I love and have so many hope for this next generation,” she said. “There are so many things out there, [and] you can see people like you everywhere, and there’s a lot of beauty in that.”

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