A local plus-size model is receiving harsh criticism after entering model competition

Karista Harris determined to overcome shamers to prove beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

PHOENIX- Local plus-size Karista Harris in the running to become the next face of Arizona Foothills Magazine.

“My goal was to become the first plus-size model winner for this magazine, to show that beauty can be diverse and beauty can come in all shapes & sizes," Harris said.

Harris already has more than 7,000 votes.

“I’ve gotten so much overwhelming support,” Harris said.

But with the support, comes negative, hurtful comments.

“First comments I got were: 'Oink.' "Why don’t you go get weight-loss surgery?' 'She shoves two big mac’s in her mouth at a time,'" Harris said. “You’re just making these assumptions. I work out, I stay active, I have a 15-year-old son who keeps me on my toes. The comments do not deter me, they make me more determined to show that no matter what we are going through, we are beautiful.”

Harris suffers from a disease that affects one in 100,000 people.

“It’s Adrenal Insufficiency. Basically your cortisol levels drop so low that you can go into a crisis," Harris said. "If you don’t get your steroid injection within about 30 minutes, you can die. Just because I have a chronic disease doesn’t mean I can’t be beautiful.”

Modeling not only helps keep her confidence up, but helps her deal with the past.

“My platform is called Defying the Odds," Harris said. "I am a survivor of child abuse for 12 years. I was in foster care and dealt with bullying and domestic violence with my previous husband. You don’t have to be a victim though, you can be a survivor and you can help influence other people to overcome and get out of their bad situation and follow your dreams.”

You can vote for Harris at www.arizonafoothillsmagazine.com. The first round ends July 28. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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