Beauty queen files discrimination lawsuit after Miss World disqualified her for being a mom

Veronika Didusenko, who was stripped of her Miss Ukraine 2018 title after the organizers discovered the model was divorced and has a child, holds her 4-year-old son before a 2018 interview with Reuters in Kiev, Ukraine. (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)
Veronika Didusenko, who was stripped of her Miss Ukraine 2018 title after the organizers discovered the model was divorced and has a child, holds her 4-year-old son before a 2018 interview with Reuters in Kiev, Ukraine. (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)

A beauty queen, who was stripped of her title as Miss Ukraine for allegedly not disclosing details about her personal life on her application, which resulted in her disqualification from competing in the Miss World contest, is suing pageant organizers. According to the 24-year-old model, Veronika Didusenko, she was disqualified for being a mother, and she hopes the lawsuit will update the pageant's "outdated" rules. 

In 2018, just four days after being titled Miss Ukraine, Didusenko was disqualified by the pageant organizers once they found out that she had a child and was also divorced. According to a statement from the official Miss Ukraine organization, rules strictly state that a contestant in "Miss Ukraine" must not be married, formerly married, or have given birth to children. 

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As a result, Didusenko has filed a legal challenge in London against the organizers of the pageant, stating that they are in violation of the Equalities Act of 2010, according to Sky News.

The Equalities Act of 2010, an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom, "protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society."

"I want to change [the rules], challenge them. I want to make sure the rules of Miss World move with the times," Didusenko told the BBC. "I want to make them more fit for nowadays and reflect women's reality today - who can perfectly balance between their careers and their personal life."

According to the BBC, Didusenko entered the Miss Ukraine contest, not with the idea that she would win, but with the hope that she could raise awareness of her children’s charity, Young Einsteins Ukraine.

She was surprised by her win at the pageant, but was left feeling humiliated and insulted after her disqualification.

"I felt so bad because it's not just my story, it's the story of thousands of women around the world who maybe want to take part but don't have the possibility to enter because they are mothers," she told BBC.

She claims that, despite seeing the rules that excluded her, she was encouraged by organizers to enter the contest. She has modeled at Paris Fashion Week and serves as the face of Zarina, the Ukrainian jewelers, according to Sky News. She told BBC that being a mother doesn’t have "any implication on my ability to be professional or be a successful model or do my job."

For Didusenko, the rules don't "make any sense." 

Miss England competition director Angie Beasley, however, claims that the rules are in place in order to be fair to both the child and the child's family.

“It is both unfair on the child and her family to take the mother away from home for the year whilst she travels the globe helping charity causes for children,” Beasley told ITV. “It raises issues about who would take care of the child/children whose mother was fortunate to win.”

While the model shares that her child has had to travel away from home because of her career, Didusenko disagrees that it has been a disadvantage to her son, adding that she has been right there by his side.

"He has seen so many countries in his age. From my perspective, he is so much more developed than other kids,” she told BBC News. “So the argument of Miss World that they’re worried about children’s welfare ... is absolutely, for me, it’s nonsense.”

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