Posted on: 06/20/2013

Meet the plus-size beauty finalists

super-size singer Beth Ditto blares,burlesque dancer and Britain"s Got Talent contestant Fabia Cerra,39,shouts:"Keep your head up and do it for Beth." These 30 women have fought off stiff competition to make it to a boot camp with a difference. Set in the idyllic Croydon Hall,near Minehead,in Somerset,the ecstatic campers are buzzing at the prospect of being crowned Miss Plus Size International 2013. And with the rules stating all entrants must be at least a size 18, the only thing that the winner needs is body confidence. With a schedule of saucy burlesque dancing and catwalk modelling taking up the day,it"s not for the faint-hearted. Upon meeting some of the lucky women shortlisted here to prepare for the final at central London"s Grand Connaught Rooms on November 23 it"s clear that finding other plus-size mates is more important than wearing the winner"s crown. Unlike the tense atmosphere you would expect at a pageant prep session,there isn"t a single catty comment. Instead,the girls are swapping clothes and telephone numbers. And with the famous 300lb model Velvet Amour whisking "Big is beautiful". But life for the finalists hasn"t always been this rosy.