Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell isn't afraid to stand up to body-shamers -- and supermodel Ashley Graham has her back.
Over the weekend, the 23-year-old from Moose Jaw, Sask. took part in the Miss Universe pageant, where she caught up with Ashley, who was serving as the event's backstage correspondent. Their conversation quickly turned to body positivity.
"To the haters I say, we are confident with who we are, because we're women... we're confident with ourselves and love ourselves and that's what's important," Siera noted.
Ashley then asked, "What do you do when you look in the mirror... do you have words of affirmation, to get yourself psyched up? Because not everyone is as comfortable in their skin as maybe the two of us are."
"Focus on what you love about yourself, because in our society, we're taught to look (a certain way)," the Canadian model replied. "Focus on the things that make you confident."
This isn't the first time that the Sports Illustrated supermodel has praised the Canadian up-and-comer for her confidence. In a social media interview for Good Morning America, Ashley expressed her shock over the fact that being a "size 6 contestant" has made the headlines.
"It's so crazy!" exclaimed Ashley, before adding that she hopes "women of all shapes and sizes [...] are able to compete and able to win and not have anybody have to talk about their weight, because that is the most ridiculous thing."
— Bianca Rose Dabu (@biancadabu) January 29, 2017
Prior to the big event, Siera shared an impassioned post to Instagram about what it's been like to deal with online trolls who say she's too large to be a model.
"'How does it feel to be so much... larger than the other delegates?' I was just asked this question in a press junket by a member of the media. I was left almost speechless. I thought, 'How does it feel to be myself? How does it feel to be confident in who I am? How does it feel to fulfill my dream of representing Canada on the Miss Universe stage? How does it feel to be a role model for so many young women who struggle to find someone to look up to? How does it feel to redefine beauty?'" she said.
I was recently asked, "What happened to you? Why have you gained weight? You are losing points" This was a reference to my body of course. While I am first to say I am not as lean as I was when I was 16, 20, or even last year, but I am more confident, capable, wise, humble and passionate than ever before. As soon as I started to love who I was rather than always trying to fit what I thought society wanted me to be, I gained a whole new side of life. This is the side I am trying to bring to the @missuniverse competition. The side of life that is so rare to find: self-worth and self-love. We always focus on the things we wish we could change rather than loving everything we are. #missuniverse #bodydiversity #IMG