THE winner of the Mrs Plus Size is Me Free State inaugural pageant, Lerato Garekoe, believes the event celebrates curvy women’s worth. She was crowned the winner on Saturday, 6 August, at a glittering final at the Bon Hotel Bloemfontein Central. The event saw 13 contestants paraded down the catwalk in elegant attire displaying their beauty.The pageant was for married women and displayed that big is equally beautiful. Garekoe said it was her first participation in a pageant. “Entering a pageant never crossed my mind because the general public discourages people my size and people are looking at one side of the beauty onlyZ slender and medium. “The Mrs Plus Size is Me pageant gives us recognition and a platform to celebrate curvy women’s worth,” said Garekoe. She said the pageant, an initiative of Samuel Chief Leeuw, has helped her overcome depression. “There is now self-worth in me.“I would advise women to enter the pageant to help them appreciate who they are. “They should not be discouraged,” said Garekoe. Puleng Direko and Dora Mosala were voted as first and second princesses.Leeuw said plans were afoot to host the pageant annually to coincide with the celebration of Women’s Month in August, paying homage to the women who participated in the 1956 march to the Union Buildings defying pass laws. He said the 2017 edition will start with auditions in the five Free State regions, with the three winners, including other contes-tants, serving as ambassadors.