Exclusive: Slight Beauty Contestant Defends 'Healthy' Body

Australian beauty contestant wants to "defend all the skinny girls out there."

ByABC News
April 27, 2009, 4:21 PM

April 29, 2009 — -- Australian beauty contestant Stephanie Naumoska spoke out today to defend herself and "all the skinny girls out there" against criticism and speculation that she might have an eating disorder.

"I've never been anorexic or bulimic. I've never been malnourished or underfed. ... I live a healthy, active lifestyle," Naumoska said in an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America." "I definitely think I've been victimized. I was singled out at that competition."

At a reported 5 feet 11 inches and 108 pounds, the pageant finalist's body surprised some onlookers when she donned a red string bikini at Australia's Miss Universe Pageant that showed off her petite frame. Naumoska was chosen out of more than 7,000 hopefuls to make the final event promoting "healthy, proportioned, bodies."

Naumoska said she definitely exemplifies that motto, because she eats healthy food and has an active lifestyle and disputes reports about her weight. She claims to weigh 117 pounds.

"I feel fine. I feel great. I don't deprive myself of anything," Naumoska said. "I think I'm a positive role model for girls."

But images of Naumoska on the catwalk in her swimsuit clearly show the 19-year-old's rib cage and hip bones protruding and have caused some dietitians and doctors to question whether the "down under" beauty has an eating disorder.

"If she was my daughter I would have wanted to go and feed her straightaway," one pageant judge said.

The controversy quickly spread to the region's media, with one newspaper sporting a "Bony or Beautiful?" headline.

All the scrutiny about the Naumoska's slim size hasn't escaped the gaunt contestant.

"I'll never forget that moment I found out," she said. "I woke up in my hotel room. ... I was looking in the mirror, and I saw the reflection of the TV behind me. I've never cried more in my entire life."