Post main image
Photo by


Tall & Thin Still Rule. Where's The Plus-Size Movement?

Tracy Nduati, Miss Kenya Plus World has her say

BY Agnes Amondi

Sep 15, 2021, 01:29 PM

Photo by

A fortnight ago, Sharon Obara was crowned Miss Kenya World 2021. If you were keen enough, you will have noticed that the podium still embodied the mainstream image of what a model should look like - tall and thin.

This is yet to change in an era where inclusivity, body image, one aspect of that, has become part and parcel of our daily chatter. Plus-size women have come out strongly to advocate for their representation, particularly within traditional media, which still has a significant social pull.
The idea is to help young girls and women embrace themselves even when they don’t fit the conventional sizes glamourized over by the media. But if the status quo remains in some of the big pageant events, is the plus-size movement having any impact? 

This is the very reason YAZA Kenya reached out to the reigning Miss Kenya Plus World Tracy Nduati. She is a vocal advocate of body positivity and is using her platforms to do just that. So what does she make of the Miss Kenya World stage and whether it’s ever going to be opened up to plus size women?
“Miss World Kenya operates as per the international standards of modelling. They are directed on the type of body size to go with; because of that, I understand why they have to be a certain size. Plus most of them end up being runway models and designers have very specific demands. Thus, I don’t see this changing anytime soon which is why we created our own event,” Tracy said.

“I think incorporating plus-size women into the mainstream pageant events can happen one day, especially with where the world is headed. Most likely in countries like America, South Africa and the like but in Kenya, I feel like it won’t happen anytime soon,” she added.
“As for the impact from the plus-size community, unfortunately, it has been a bit quiet when it comes to that. That said, we have started changing the modelling industry which is very different from runway modelling,”
“On a personal level, I think I’ve done my part and continue to. I’ve now started doing swimsuits shoots and whenever I get nervous doing them, I remind myself of the impact I’m making on women. That really helps and makes me feel so strong, bold and confident.”

Sadly, Miss Kenya Plus World is yet to be hosted again. This, as Tracy shared, is due to the fact that the event isn't officially recognised by the government of Kenya. The 2019 edition was sponsored by team curvy Kenya, for which Neomi Ng'ang'a, is the Director.

The Walk To Miss Kenya Plus World

A champion of body positivity, Tracy understands all too well why she’s pursuing this path. She shared part of her journey with us and why this conversation should keep ringing in our ears.

“I’m the reigning Miss Kenya Plus World, a title I won in 2019. The event took place at Garden City Mall. I then flew to Houston, Texas to represent Kenya in Miss World Plus. Going there just opened my eyes to the world of plus size and the need to appreciate all types of body sizes and women in general. When I came back, I used my platform to advocate for that. Encouraging women to love the bodies they are in.”
“How did I get here? I run a food catering and events business and I'm also a model. I’ve modelled for a few local fashion companies and I represent the large spectrum of these sizes which Kenya is starting to embrace. Before, local brands rarely catered for women of this size bracket when importing or selling online,”

“The reason why I chose to represent Kenya in the contest is I came across the event’s poster in which the winner was to go to the US. That was something new so I decided to apply. I sent my application on the last day and I was one of approximately 500 women to apply. I almost never went for the audition but my mum gave me a push and was successful,” she shared.

What Does It Mean To Be Plus Size?

“I’m learning by the day. In fact, I’ve stopped saying that I’m plus size. I am a woman just like any other and that’s what I’m encouraging other plus-size women to feel. They shouldn’t feel any different.

“You know, one of my Instagram followers asked whether it's harder dating as a plus-size woman. Previously, I’d say yes but I changed my approach to that. It’s not harder because I’m the one to decide my worth and my size shouldn’t determine how someone else loves me. So with the role I have now, one of the things I do is standing up for women and changing the narrative in Kenya and around the world.”
We all know the world of social media isn’t a solace for anyone, particularly for people who are different. Keyboard warriors as they are known, are always quick to throw snide comments (not fit for publication). Tracy has sadly experienced some of this. So how does she overcome such hurdles?

“Most people who are quick to criticise on social media are just keyboard warriors. Unfortunately, at times, it’s your fellow women. I’m very lucky to not have those messages or comments. Before especially when I won, I got trolled but the best thing is not to reply and let those comments get to you.”

Parting Shot

It’s clear that in the age of the internet, young girls and women are always a swipe away from seeing someone who looks better than them or has something they don’t have. Tracy had this one message.

“Live one day at a time. Take care of yourself healthwise. Love yourself because if you don’t, no one else will. Embrace the beauty that you are. You are beautiful, enough, bold and you deserve everything that you want.” 

“We need to help young girls from a very young age. If they don’t get proper guidance, we’ll have even a bigger problem. Already, we have these body image problems. So it's important that every single parent reassures their children especially young girls. Let them know that they are beautiful, strong and are made in God’s image.”

Read More: Here's How Not To Get A Leg Up In Your Career