Miss Indiana Mekayla Diehl walked onto the Miss USA stage in a bikini and platform heels, and women all over the U.S. cheered a woman they felt looked “normal.” Then she lost.
Still, Diehl’s fame seems to have eclipsed that of winner Nia Sanchez, Miss Nevada. She’s been praised as a “thicker pageant girl,” an “average woman” and “not a bag of bones.” And she’s been interviewed on programs including “Fox & Friends,” on which host Elisabeth Hasselbeck (a thin woman herself) lauded Diehl for sending a message to young girls who feel pressured “to fit into a certain form or model.”
Seriously? Diehl is a size 4. The 25-year-old is 5 feet, 8 inches, tall. She says she has a BMI of 18.
A bag of bones she is not, but she is far from average.
The average American woman, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is 5-foot-3 and 166 pounds. A waist circumference of 37 1/2 inches means that, on some clothing-size charts, miss average America is in the plus-size category. Average BMI for a U.S. woman is 33. Of course, not everyone’s 25, either. (To compare your body mass index to the average, the National Institutes of Health has a calculator. “Normal weight” is indicated by a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9, the NIH says.)
But there’s something to be said for Diehl’s message. She told Fox, “I trained very hard for the body I have.” But, she said, “I didn’t go to any extremes, and I’m proud of that.”
Diehl’s not into deprivation, she told the Indianapolis Star. She likes a good steak, and she likes hiking and jumping rope.
Miss Indiana also understands vacation eating.
After the pageant ended Sunday in Baton Rouge, she went out for fried gator, crawfish, beignets and wine, according to the Star. She and her friends and family ate to their heart’s content.
Is your BMI over 18? Follow me at @AmyTheHub