The most recent Miss USA pageant was a sea of staggeringly thin bodies, rock-hard abs and child-size derrieres as far as the eye could see. But there is room for plus-size beauties on the pageant stage -- albeit their own, specially cordoned-off stage -- in size-specific competitions, like Israel's annual Fat and Beautiful pageant staged this week.
Held in the Southern city of Be'er Sheva, the Fat and Beautiful competition included sixteen women who all met one requirement: they all weighed between 80-100 kilos (176-220 pounds). It's not such a hard number to top: a 2009 study found that 58.9% of Jewish and Arab Israeli women between 25 and 64 are overweight or obese.
In fact other plus size pageants have required an even higher weight for its participants. Italy's groundbreaking Miss Cicciona pageant, founded over 20 years ago, is open to women weighing 220 pounds or more. Miss Cicciona 2011, Ornella Chiapperini of Naples, clocked in at 324.7 pounds.
Although they receive less attention from the press, plus size pageants are growing in popularity. In addition to Israel and Italy, Brazil and the United States (yes, the skinny-obsessed U. S. of A.) have pageants dedicated to non-skinny women. As American pageant coach Rhonda Shappert previously told us, "When you look demographically, especially in America, at how the average size of the women has been increasing, there are people who really believe that the positive aspects of these pageants can be beneficial."
Those people would probably include Vered Fischer, who took home Israel's Fat and Beautiful 2012 crown this week. Check out photos of the contest below!