New Pageant Scandal: Scary Thin Contestant

Apr. 24 2009, Published 3:24 p.m. ET

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A new controversy is brewing over a beauty pageant hopeful; but this time, it has nothing to do with gay marriage.

The onstage appearance of Stephanie Naumoska, a 19-year-old Miss Australia finalist, drew out critics who said the model's emaciated look was a danger to herself and those looking to emulate the bony beauty.

"These girls start to believe that thin is in," psychologist Jeff Gardere told The Today Show on Friday.  He added that the success and glamorization of those with the ultra-bony look would likely have a negative trickle down effect in the form of young girls adopting eating disorders to emulate the look.

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Sashaying her 31-25-35 figure across the stage, Naumoska's gaunt physique -- at 5 feet, 10 inches and weighing 105 ponds -- horrified some spectators in attendance. Her body mass index, at 15.8, is substantially less than the 18 score she would need to be considered malnourished. She has publicly denied allegations of an eating disorder, claiming she eats several meals daily.

The director  of the Miss Australia pageant, Deborah Miller, agreed with the model's sentiments that her Macedonian heritage was the reason for her appearance.

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"The women do have long, lithe bodies and small bones,' she told UK Daily Mail. "It's their body type, just as Asian girls tend to be rather small. She doesn't have an eating disorder or anything like that. There's nothing wrong with her."



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