When Fiona Tan Si Min joined a plus-sized beauty pageant in Latvia, representing Singapore, she did not expect to win. But the 29-year-old was crowned Ms Top of the World Plus Size 2016 in June.
My Paper speaks to the bubbly makeover stylist about image issues, weight struggles and life after the pageant.
How do you feel winning the pageant and being the face for plus-sized women here?
I feel very humbled and honoured... The win comes with responsibilities and I hope that my personal story can inspire and bring together more support for plus-sized women.
How will you inspire women on self-image issues?
Through social media, (such as) my Facebook page Plus Size Beauty Queen: Fiona Tan, by putting up positive posts to create awareness that there's lots of room to show your curves and love yourself.
Also in the works is a YouTube channel where I intend to invite successful plus-sized women to share their experiences.
You had liposuction when you were 21?
Facing taunts from relatives and others about my size, I decided to make a drastic decision. However, I lost myself because it was just a quick fix and it affected my health.
I learnt that liposuction is for people who are of average weight but would like to lose a few more kilos, and not for losing big amounts of weight.
Even if you manage to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time, you may not learn how to cope with the change.
Would you advise plus-sized women to undergo liposuction?
No, resolve the underlying problem first. Full body liposuction may lead to death and, at the most, the surgeon can remove only 5kg of tissue.
Do you eat healthily?
I take more greens, less processed food and carbohydrates. I eat in moderation.
In addition, I take only the best supplements in an isotonic form for optimal absorption.
After I made (eating well) a habit, my irritable bowel syndrome stopped, my digestion improved and my ability to achieve more increased.
Do you exercise?
Honestly, I've never been a big fan of exercise, but I believe that if my body doesn't detoxify through sweating, I will end up with unwanted illnesses. Now, I work out at the gym three times a week.
Are you attached?
I have friends, life coaches and business partners who have always believed in me.
What is the message you want to give to women struggling with weight or self-image issues?
Find your strength and work on it, confidence comes from doing what you're great at.
How do other countries - compared with Singapore or Asia - treat plus-sized women?
The amount of confidence during the pageant was through the roof!
The women were from different European countries and only one or two came from countries that didn't embrace plus-sized women as much as the other European countries.
Growing up in a society that embraces or even loves curves more makes a big difference.
For example, Miss Netherlands is a popular plus-sized model.
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