Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir is an Icelandic beauty queen who was crowned Miss Iceland for the 2016 Miss Grand International pageant. When she arrived in Las Vegas, she says the owner of the pageant, Thai TV host Nawat Itsaragrisil, told her that she was too fat to compete. Rather than try to slim down, the 20-year-old quit on the spot.
Jónsdóttir is being praised for her refusal to change herself to fit someone else’s image of beauty. Here is a look at the controversy and Jónsdóttir herself.
1. Jónsdóttir Says Itsaragrisil Told Her to ‘Stop Eating Breakfast’
She first told her story to The Iceland Monitor on October 22. Jónsdóttir said that Istaragrisil and the pageant staff told her, “Stop eating breakfast, eat just salad for lunch and drink water every evening until the contest.”
Jónsdóttir had been in the U.S. since October 8 and the final contest wasn’t until October 25. Although she might have had time to fit the pageant’s definition of beauty, she refused.
“[Itsaragrisil] is telling you this because he likes you and wants you to do well in this contest,” the message she received read.
“If the owner of the contest really wants me to lose weight and doesn’t like me the way I am, then he doesn’t deserve to have me in the Top 10,” Jónsdóttir told the Iceland Monitor.
Rather than rush back to Iceland, she decided to stay in Las Vegas until October 26. “I’m gonna stay in Las Vegas until 26th october. Explore the city, eat good food and enjoying the time I have here,” she wrote on Instagram.
2. ‘If Anyone Tells Me I’m too Fat or Whatever, They Just Don’t Deserve Me,’ She Wrote to the Pageant
Jónsdóttir later shared her resignation letter with her Instagram followers. She wrote directly to the pageant’s host and expressed her disappointment that, after all the hard work she put in, she was told she was too fat.
Actually, if anyone tells me that I’m too fat or whatever, they just don’t deserve me. And that’s why I left. Miss Grand International doesn’t deserve my face, body, personality or heart. I truly hope that the organization opens their eyes because the year is 2016 and if you are gonna hold an international pageant you have to be able to see the international beauty.
Jónsdóttir also wrote on Facebook that she felt she had to “stand up for myself, all the women and the Icelandic nation.”
She also posted the following video for those concerned about her.
3. Itsaragrisil Admitted that His Staff Told Jónsdóttir to Lose Weight Before the Competition
Itsaragrisil confirmed Jónsdóttir’s story in an interview with the Independent. He said that his staff did tell her to lose weight “to improve her chance at winning,” adding that “everyone should show their improvement” after three weeks in La Vegas.
The host and President of Miss Grand International told the Independent that she looked “slimmer and more beautiful” in photos, compared to how she looked in real life.
Here’s the full statement Itsaragrisil gave The Independent:
“She asked some questions and for suggestions from our staff which they’ve replied according to what they think, she may be a little bit fat and they recommended her, in good way, to try to lose some weight in order to improve her chance to win.
“This is a normal process for the three weeks during the pageant, everyone should show their improvement. Similarly, the staffs give the same advice for others who asked them what should they do to improve in order to win which each of them would get different advice.
“Since the start of the pageant she is one of the delegates who shown herself to be interesting and to have a great personality. All my staff have loved to work with her and she made great impression on the team.”
4. She Also Works as an International Model For Nike
While the Miss Grand International might not have liked Jónsdóttir, she has had plenty of other opportunities as a model. Her Instagram page reveals that she is also a Nike international model.
“Being an international model for NIKE was amazing experience which will definitely push me further into the modelling world,” she wrote in one Instagram caption.
According to the bio on her website, Jónsdóttir plans on graduating from The University of Iceland this year and studied nursing. She is also an athlete, having made it to the Icelandic National team when she was 15 as a pole vaulter. She also trained as a gymnast for 10 years before she chose track and field.
5. Jónsdóttir Is Dating Soccer Player Egill Trausti Ómarsson & Has a Twin Brother
A quick look through her Instagram page reveals that Jónsdóttir is dating soccer player Egill Trausti Ómarsson, a midfielder. “The life is more fun with him,” she wrote in one photo with him. Ómarsson’s own Instagram page is filled with photos of the two together.
Jónsdóttir was born and raised in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík. She has a twin brother, Andri, who inspired her to speak up. “Dear @andrifreyrjonsson my other half, my twin brother. Thank you for teaching me how to stand on my own feet and follow my own heart. Without you I wouldn’t be coming home TOMORROW,” she wrote on Instagram.