A new documentary is going inside the world of plus size beauty pageants.
There She Is follows two best friends, Allison Kopach and Jenny Flores as they compete in the American Beauties Plus Pageant—a beauty contest for women size 14 and up.
"They have Miss America, they have Miss Universe, thin women have all these wonderful tools. Why can’t I have them?" Kopach, a size 20, asks.
"I think regardless of size women need the opportunity to express themselves.
"We try so hard to portray ourselves as a positive role model—as being very confident—comfortable in your own skin where most of the time we’re not."
The pretty blonde explains that she feels continually judged because of her size and says she feels she can not leave the house without make-up on for fear people will think she's "a fat slob."
"If I can eliminate any kind of looks by maybe just doing my hair and makeup I’ll go that extra mile," she says.
Flores, who weighs 292 pounds, says she's very happy with her size and that the worst part of competing is having to grow her eyebrows out!
"I am actually very comfortable with my weight," Jenny says. "I really do love myself and I’m comfortable in my own skin."
However, she admits her size has caused her heartache in life, sharing a sad story of an ex-boyfriend who told her she was "too tall and too fat" to marry.
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Allison bags the title of Elite Queen and Jenny is crowned runner up—but Kopach is hurt by the lack of attention she receives after winning the title, and is seen sad and despondent back at work just a few days later.
Fast forward one year and the ladies are back to pass on their titles to new contestants.
Despite their earlier protestations that they are happy with their fuller figures, both have lost weight during the past twelve months.
Jenny underwent weight loss surgery and has shed an impressive 52 pounds—in the process winning back the cruel ex who dumped her because of her weight—she explains they have been engaged for just over two weeks.
Meanwhile, Allison has shed 35 pounds and is pursuing a career as a plus-size model.
There She Is is the brainchild of Veena Rao and Emily Sheskin.
The filmmakers said they made the documentary as they were interested in exploring the constructs of beauty.
"We both come from a feminist perspective and many times people seeing our film are opposed to pageantry, because it’s a way to judge women by their appearance," Rao says.
"But there’s something very empowering, too."
You can watch the 20 minute documentary in full below.
What do you think about plus size pageants? Sound off in comments below and tweet us @OKMagazine
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