Miss Plus Size Universe, a pageant aimed at empowering plus-size women, has once again faced strong criticism from its contestants.
The winner of the competition, Miss Grenada, Samantha Harris and the Second Runner-up & Campaign Queen, Miss Nigeria Kanat Bonat, expressed their dismay with the chaotic management of the pageant, stating they felt deceived by promoter Pearl
The Miss Plus Size Universe International 2023 pageant took place on October 27 in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Upon investigation, ANN obtained the initial document sent to contestants outlining the potential prizes for the 2023 pageant. It detailed the winner receiving an educational scholarship valued at EC$175,000, EC$20,000 in cash, and EC$2,500 in fashion gifts
Similarly, the second prize included an educational scholarship of EC$75,000, EC$10,000 in cash, and EC$1,500 in fashion gifts and prizes. Third place was set to receive an educational scholarship of EC$40,000, EC$5,000 in cash, and
EC$500 in fashion gifts and prizes.
Additionally, the document mentioned that the People’s Choice Queen, Campaign Queen, and Lifetime Queen would each be awarded EC$10,000, EC$5,000, and $2,000 EC respectively as First, Second, and Third prizes.
Both Miss Grenada and Miss Nigeria alleged that the promoter abruptly changed the prize money clarification, claiming the information provided was intended for the following year’s competition.
Post-pageant, the contestants claimed to have received only trophies and crowns, with the promised prize ceremony being postponed twice, now scheduled for February 24, 2024.
Samantha Harris’ Experience
During an interview with ANN, Harris and a member of her management team, who preferred anonymity due to her own involvement in pageantry, disclosed that Williams informed them about the prize allocation for the upcoming year after they had publicized Harris’ victory.
“The agreement was for Samantha to receive $US20,000, with half to be paid on the night of the show. Per her contract, two further payments were due during her reign,” they stated.
Harris’ management revealed they paid a registration fee of US$2000 to Williams. They asserted that although a contract was signed initially, a revised contract sent in November was declined by Harris’ team pending review, to which Williams allegedly objected, claiming it was a non-negotiable legal document.
Allegedly, Williams threatened that sponsors wouldn’t remit payment if the contract wasn’t signed, leading to the team feeling “trapped” at their hotel due to an unpaid bill.
Despite Williams’ assurances of Harris receiving her winnings, Harris asserted only receiving a trophy (which broke the pageant night) and a crown from the competition.
Harris stated that despite promises, the prize-giving ceremonies scheduled for
November 30 and December 15 did not materialise. Recently, a new flyer indicated February 24, 2024, as the revised date for the ceremony, requiring attendees to purchase tickets priced at $170, presumably in EC Dollars.
Kenat Bonat’s Experience
Speaking to ANN, the second runner-up and Campaign Queen from Miss Nigeria,
Kenat Bonat echoed Harris’ narrative but expressed a firm belief in being scammed.
“We suspect she doesn’t possess our prize money. She hasn’t paid the local show winner since 2018,” Bonat asserted, highlighting the investment of time and resources by the contestants.
Bonat, a medical student residing in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, mentioned she wasn’t charged a registration fee but incurred significant expenses preparing for the pageant. She claimed Williams initially quoted higher prize money before later reducing it to US$2000, which she deemed a deliberate deception to entice participants.
She cited unmet promises of a post-show prize-giving on November 29 and subsequent postponements, accompanied by excuses from Williams regarding sponsor communications.
Bonat stated she, like Harris, also received a trophy and crown but
was unaware of her placement until informed by the audience due to the pageant’s disorganization.
“This entire situation has caused immense stress for myself and the other contestants,”
Bonat remarked, expressing frustration over the lack of clarity and unfulfilled
This is not the first time that the pageant and Williams have faced negative reviews and accusations.
Miss Plus Size Universe 2022 saw trouble as delegates, including Eugene Bailey, faced a disorganized event.
Bailey detailed her experience to ANN, mentioning accommodation switches, a show postponed due to rain, transportation woes, and unfulfilled promises.
The pageant, plagued by a low contestant count and issues, ultimately never took place.
Contestants, already financially invested, received no refunds. Bailey shared concerns about the treatment of plus-sized women and questionable assurances for future funding.
Miss Williams addressed the pageant’s issues, attributing the contestant’s decrease to sponsorship and travel problems.
COVID protocols shifted the show date to November; rain disrupted rehearsals. Williams stated the rain prevented the event, moving it to the next day, though logistical hurdles made rescheduling challenging.
She defended the registration fee’s purpose and denounced an article by Antigua Observer as damaging, citing legal action.
Williams refuted claims about meals, hotel safety, and previous pageants, vowing to proceed with next year’s event.
In 2008, Williams defended her magazine, Status Magazine, refuting accusations of questionable business practices. She countered claims about advertising authenticity and content accuracy, attributing misunderstandings to miscommunication and reliance on her sales team’s guidance. Williams aimed to dispel doubts and uphold the magazine’s reputation
When ANN contacted Williams she threatened legal action saying “Please be aware that the information you have is correct,”.
According to her, the contestants are trying to “bully” her and she had them sign contracts that would prevent them from talking to the media.
Harris’ manager however informed ANN that a contract was signed by Harris but they never received an updated copy with Williams’ signature.
ANN obtained the NDA signed by Bonat……..
Williams directed ANN to her lawyer, however, when we did so the lawyer informed us that they did not even know the show “came off”.