Bristol native Mekayla Diehl may not be the new Miss USA, but plenty of people around the country are singing her praises. During and after the pageant Sunday night fans expressed disappointment she didn't make the top 10.
Many took to Twitter:
@huntinprincess_ "Miss Indiana had the most realistic body last night on Miss USA. Shoutout to her."
@StephsDangerout "Miss Indiana looked like a normal person...and she didn't make the cut. :("
@HermanBonJovi #MissIndiana was gorgeous. #MissUSA2014 Why arent there more girls in the pageant like her? #RealGirlsArentStick
Faran Fronczak spoke to Diehl who says the judges' opinions about her body cost her the top 10. "On a scoring level that's exactly what happened and that's okay because those were those seven judges' opinions, nine judges' opinions," she says. "That's okay. You can't dwell on somebody's opinion and at the end of the day I didn't make the top ten because of their opinions and I'm not going to change my lifestyle and I'm not going to change my spirit because of that."
Diehl says she stays extremely active, and doesn't deprive herself of food. "I can realistically achieve it everyday," she says. "It's not a crash diet. It's not a program. It's a lifestyle."
Dr. Ahmed Elmaadawi, a Child and Adolescent Phychiatrist at Memorial, says Diehl is actually thinner than the average woman. He says when young adults see criticism about body shape, it affects their body image. "Over 90-percent of young teens I work with, they are not satisfied with their body image. That's actually a huge number," he says.
Diehl returned to the South Bend Airport Monday to a warm welcome. She was greeted by family members who were thrilled about her performance in the pageant.