Kids can be the worst. For them things are overlooked with a mere ‘they’re just kids’. Growing up ‘different’ from others is never easy. It can be with pimples, your body weight, the colour of your skin – anything beyond normative becomes unacceptable. 

We’re not going to imagine the kinds of hell twenty-year-old Evita Delmundo would’ve gone through growing up. Hailing from Sabah in north-eastern Malaysia, Evita was born with mole-sized birthmarks all over her body. She was called everything from a ‘monster’ to a ‘choco-chip cookie’. Once, she even decided to get it removed surgically only to be warned by doctors that the procedure would result in complications.

She regales an incident to the Daily Mail,

In primary school, no one wanted to be friends with me. I remember a teacher having to ask two girls to accompany me during recess, and they were whispering ‘why do we have to treat her like a princess?’ It broke my heart. I told them that they don’t have to follow me and they went off immediately. Basically, I was a lonely girl.

In secondary school, where her mother was a teacher, she began to be accepted by her fellow pupils. It took 16 years of existence for people to realise that beyond what they saw as different, was a person as normal as anybody else. The doctor’s warning of medical complications due to surgery was what further boosted her resolve to accept herself just the way she was, no prisoners taken.

She’ll now be seen competing with other leading ladies from various parts of the world to be crowned Miss Universe. The biggest beauty pageant will be the battlefield where she’ll fight off her own demons and those of many more struggling with beauty standards. She met last year’s winner too as part of the competition.

If that’s not mettle, we really do not know what is.