A 23-year-old woman tipping the scales at 308 pounds has won the plus-size beauty pageant Mrs. Utah Plus America 2012, RadarOnline.com has learned.
"I used to watch the Miss America pageant as a child and wished I could be one of those girls," said the beauty queen, Victoria Christensen. "I had decided that I was never going to be skinny enough or pretty enough to do that, so year after year, I would watch them and continue to wish."
"At school, people commonly called me fat and "Fatty" -- the worst was "Garbage Disposal" because people thought I ate too much," she recalled. "But I don’t remember anything more than that because I’ve tried to let them go and remove any negative forces in my life."
Victoria said she first became aware of the plus-size beauty competition while watching an interview on Facebook with last year's winner, giving her the idea to enter this year's contest.
She recalled, "My first thought was 'Wait a minute: Plus?!?' I realized I had a chance to be one of the girls I thought I would never be skinny enough or pretty enough to be."
Victoria said entering the pageant has buoyed her with confidence, moving forward. She said the competition changed her life and helped her see "what a woman should be.
"It has turned me from a girl into a woman and given me the strength to accept myself and shine," Victoria said, adding she plans to enter more pageants in the future.