Zhiibasshaasing band member Mekayla Diehl loses Miss USA pageant, but becomes social media sweetheart for her positive body image

Miss Indiana Mekayla Diehl, a Zhiibasshaasing band member, received kudos for her ‘natural’ body during the Miss USA competition this past weekend.

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA—The family of Mekayla Diehl in Zhiibaahaasing was glued to the television Sunday night as the crowned Miss Indiana USA 2014 competed in the Miss USA pageant. Ms. Diehl made it into the top 20, but unfortunately, didn’t move forward to the top 10.

Although Ms. Diehl wasn’t one of the pageant’s top contenders, she came out of the evening as one of the most talked about contestants, receiving accolades for her natural beauty and positive body image during the bathing suit portion of the evening.

Not only did social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook blow up with positive comments about Ms. Diehl’s “normal body,” her natural figure also caught the attention of major news outlets such as the Daily Mail, E! Canada, INDYSTAR and USA Today.

[pullquote]“As Miss Indiana Mekayla Diehl strutted her stuff wearing a bikini and a big smile during the swimsuit portion of Sunday’s Miss USA show Sunday night, Twitter responded with a flurry of flattery,” reported USA Today online.[/pullquote]

“Think it’s hard to tell 20 beauty queens apart? How about 20 beauty queens wearing the exact same white bikini?” questioned Natalie Finn in an E! Canada online article. “During tonight’s Miss USA 2014 competition taking place in Baton Rouge, La., it was Miss Indiana USA Mekayla Diehl who made the twitterverse burst into a spontaneous round of applause in appreciation of her curvier-than-some bikini bod, which she flaunted to perfection during the swimsuit runway portion of the pageant. Alas, the 25-year-old stunner did not make it out of the semifinals and into the top 10, which directly followed the bikini parade, but you can bet that she made a world of fans right then and there.”

Twitter comments included “We love #MissIndiana’s body! Don’t you?” from HollywoodLife and “Props to #MissIndiana @RealMissINUSA for looking absolutely stunning in the bikini competition. To me you’re the real #Miss USA,” tweeted Caroline Clendening.

Ms. Diehl’s mom Melinda Sampson was also proud of her daughter and the wave of positive comments about her body.

[pullquote]“We were ecstatic with her performance overall and making it to the top 20,” said Ms. Sampson. “The house was so loud with everyone cheering—it was wonderful.”[/pullquote]

“Mekayla is an athlete,” said Ms. Sampson of her daughter’s body. “She is healthy and happy and I am so pleased that she has been recognized for that.”

Ms. Diehl was overwhelmed with the media attention, commenting to the E! Canada article on her Facebook page, “So cool. I worked hard on my body without obsessing over being too skinny and I couldn’t be more proud.”

Ms. Diehl grew up in Elkhart, Indiana with her paternal grandmother, but is a Zhiibaahaasing band member through her maternal grandfather and returns to Manitoulin to visit her mother and brothers.

During her most recent visit in April of this year Ms. Diehl learned more about her First Nation roots, something that she touched on during her interview on Miss USA, noting that she was a member of the Turtle Clan and sharing her spirit name, Gimiwanookwe (rain woman).