Mekayla Diehl didn’t win the Miss USA pageant this week, or even crack to the top 10, but in the days that have followed the normal-sized beauty queen is the one garnering all the attention.
Diehl was an immediate hit during the pageant for showing off her “normal” sized figure in the swimsuit competition. The 5-foot-8, size 4 Indiana native sparked a wave of attention on Twitter, with countless fans praising her for being proud of her body.
Now, after several more days of attention, Mekayla Diehl said she is blown away by the attention brought on by her appearance in the competition.
“For someone who had just been knocked out of the competition because her swimsuit scores weren’t high enough, it was a boost of confidence that I needed to enjoy the night,” she told People magazine.
The 25-year-old Diehl has worked hard to keep up her physique, working with a nutritionist and a personal trainer.
“It’s so funny that people are calling me curvy because I’m naturally quite the opposite,” she said. “I’m so up and down. I actually worked to emphasize the small of my waist to make me look a bit curvier.”
Ultimately, Diehl said she is confident in her appearance, even if it is outside the norm for the competition.
“I think the normality that everybody keeps talking about is just the fact that I’m relatable,” she says. “I’m confident in my own skin. I didn’t obsess over being too skinny or not being tall enough. I knew that I would be going up against some girls that were 6’1″ and professional models. That’s them; I’m celebrating who I am.”
Mekayla Diehl said she’s always had an “athletic build,” and in college was a college volleyball standout. In working out for the Miss USA competition, Diehl said she actually gained weight.
“Before I started training for Miss Indiana USA, I weighed around 128 lbs.,” says Diehl. “Then I gained muscle mass and weighted around 135, 137 lbs. when I left for Miss USA. I didn’t really worry about my weight. It’s just a number.”
Mekayla Diehl said she hopes to use her newfound attention to help others. She wants to raise awareness for child abuse, and plans to become an advocate for promoting positive body image and healthy lifestyles.