Former Miss SA finalist shares a transformation pic of a VERY different kind

By Nadim Nyker
06 January 2017

In 2015, the curvaceous beauty stunned by dropping 14 kg in four months for Miss South Africa. Now, she's seeing things very differently...

In 2015, the curvaceous beauty from Paarl stunned by dropping 14 kg in four months for Miss South Africa.

Two years on, pageant finalist Marciel Hopkins has is back to her normal weight -- and she couldn't be happier about it.

Now, the 23-year-old has made it her mission to spread a message of self-love and body positivity to other young women.

Marciel, who now works as a plus-size model, took to social media to share photo of her much skinnier self during the pageant, next to a current photo. “I never followed a specific diet, but I made drastic lifestyle changes and literally trained my butt off,” she captioned the photo. Read more: ‘I can just be me!’ Miss SA finalist becomes a plus-size model “The picture on the left was after 5 months of intense training and absolutely NO carbs, red meat or alcohol. Chocolates, cake and sweets were swear words!”

“I trained two to three hours a day and I even worked cardio sessions in over weekends. My boobs shrunk two cup sizes and my period stopped. On this specific day of the picture, I got home, freezing after the shoot, and I had a baby apple for dinner,” the brunette beauty confessed. Soon after the pageant, Marciel revealed to YOU: “At that time, I was very goal-driven, I had a clear vision and that was to become a Miss SA finalist.”
“I knew that [losing weight] was part of my struggle, and knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. I didn’t complain, no one forced me to do it. It was my own challenge.”

Lately I've received a number of messages around weightloss advice and questions about which diet I followed for Miss South Africa. I want to give you honest feedback: I never followed a specific diet, but I made drastic lifestyle changes and literally trained my butt off. The picture on the left was after 5 months of intense training and absolutely NO carbs, red meat or alcohol. Chocolates, cake and sweets were swear words! I trained 2 to 3 hours a day and I even worked cardio sessions in over weekends. My boobs shrunk 2 cup sizes and my period stopped. On this specific day of the picture, I got home, freezing after the shoot, and I had a baby apple for dinner. From the picture on the right, more than a year later, I want to say, it's NOT worth it to fight a daily battle with food or your body. Bodies are different, we can't all look the same. Instead of having #bikinibody unrealistic-nonsense-goals that are being spoonfed to us on a daily basis, strive towards being the healthiest and happiest version of yourself (mentally and physically). Don't fight against something that is part of who you are. Self acceptance is a relationship that you have to work on daily. Be sure to make your body your new best friend. Light and love! #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bodyconfidence #loveyourbody #dietculture #unrealisticgoals #bebodyaware #healthnotsize #beautybeyondsize #droptheplus #everybodyisbeautiful #swimwear #bikini #curves #iamallwoman

A photo posted by Marciel Hopkins (@marcielhopkins) on

Did some tell her she needed to lose weight to compete?

Not at all, Marciel insists. But she does feel the pageant needs growth and that there is a lot of potential for body diversity.

Read more: Top 25 finalists for Miss SA 2016 revealed “I know if I entered [Miss South Africa] with my size 14 jeans now, I wouldn’t be accepted,” she says candidly. The journey has made Marciel see her body in a whole new light. "From the picture on the right, more than a year later, I want to say, it's NOT worth it to fight a daily battle with food or your body," she wrote on her post.

"Bodies are different, we can't all look the same. Instead of having #bikinibody unrealistic-nonsense-goals that are being spoonfed to us on a daily basis, strive towards being the healthiest and happiest version of yourself (mentally and physically)."
And by learning to love her body, Marciel has had all sorts of opportunities. “It was very exciting when I just returned [back from Miss SA]. It took me two months to get back to my normal body size. I then signed up with a modeling agency and before I knew it, I was on a plane to Germany for my first ever modeling job!”

Living in the Western Cape, she books a lot of European clients that come to South Africa for its beautiful beaches. Modeling is not her only goal, however.

Finishing her Honours degree in psychology in 2016, the plus-size model hopes to take things a step further and become a body positivity life coach.

“I feel that becoming a life coach is a lot more holistic than Psychology. It’s a great platform going forward but I feel it is too one dimensional. It is more a platform I can build my career from.”

In hindsight, Marciel says that she wouldn’t change the Miss SA experience and has no regrets.

“It was the experience that made me so true to myself and love my body” she says. “I never thought it would have such a high impact [on my body]. The body story took its own journey and I just went with it.” And the soon-to-be life coach has a positive message for young women out there in 2017: “Our bodies are fascinating vehicles" she says, "live fully [with your] body and give it love. Don’t be brainwashed by society, our bodies are there to celebrate!"

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