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Beauty comes in all sizes as local woman wins national pageant

WARSAW, Ky. (Paula Toti) -- A tri-state woman won a national beauty contest standing out among 50 other contestants and representing women with curves.

"The Miss Plus America" pageant is for woman size 14 and above.  One young woman from the tri-state felt she has more than one positive message to share.  The Miss Plus America pageant represented the majority; over 60 percent of American women were represented by their size. 

Like most other pageants, there was a talent portion.  The judges liked Yolanda Gould's singing but really liked her.

Yolanda said the judges thought, "That I was an honest person.  My heart was on my sleeve when I walked in."

Yolanda knows her culture was obsessed with thin.  She was a large child but still competed in pageants then stopped.  But when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer and had a hysterectomy she started again. 

"I think anyone who has their womanhood taken away doesn't feel beautiful about themselves," Yolanda said.

That was almost five years ago.  Now as a survivor she said, "I do feel beautiful.  It's taken a long time but I feel beautiful."

In part because she mentors young girls and helps other women with cancer feel pretty at a time when they are at a low point.  In her paid work she helps people with disabilities find jobs and she's just positive.

"I think whatever size you are in the world you can make a difference in the world," Yolanda said.

Yolanda also wanted to send a message for women to take control of their health.  For a while she had symptoms of uterine cancer and was told it's just because she was overweight.  She was persistent in getting a diagnosis and was detected early enough to save her life.

CLICK HERE for the "Miss Plus America" pageant Facebook page.

Follow Paula Toti on Twitter @paulatoti and LIKE her on Facebook




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