Nadia Grace Mejia confidently strutted across the stage in a colorful two-piece bathing suit at the Miss USA pageant Sunday, landing her a spot in the competition’s final five. However, Miss California didn’t always feel so comfortable in her skin.
The 20-year-old daughter of ’90s one-hit-wonder rapper Rico Suave and a former beauty queen revealed during her interview package that she once suffered from anorexia.
In a blog post from earlier this year on Not So Private Parts, Mejia talks about just how severe her eating disorder got due to the pressues of working as a model in Los Angeles.
“Being a full time model, I’m constantly being judged based on my appearance and measurements,” Mejia writes, adding that she started her career at a young age when her parents were separating.
“I focused all of my energy and heart into my work to distract me from the chaos going on around me,” she continues. “I would focus so much on pleasing my bookers, who body shamed me endlessly, that I went from 132 lbs. to 102 lbs. in the matter of 2 months.”
Mejia recounts how she restricted her calorie intake and would run four miles a day to control her weight. This went on for eight months before she began to recover with the help of her family and her faith.
“Upon realizing that my self worth should not come from someone else’s opinion of me but that it should come solely from the Lord, I was given a new freedom,” Mejia says. “I am perfectly made in His image. I am never alone because He is always by my side. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. My life isn’t perfect, yet I’m not ashamed to share my ‘not so private parts.’ ”
Related Video: VIDEO: Miss Colombia Ariadna Guti rrez Writes Touching Message After Miss Universe Fallout: ‘My Destiny Was This’
Today at 130 lbs., Mejia has a much healthier relationship with food. In fact, she recently told Fox 40 that she’s a “foodie” who hopes to open her own restaurant someday.
Although she didn’t clinch the Miss USA crown, Mejia uses her platform as Miss California to promote body positivity and works as a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorder Association.