Darren Decker/Miss Universe Organization
While Miss Indiana Mekayla Diehl didn't win the highly coveted title of Miss USA, the brunette beauty certainly left a lasting impression on the audience.
The 25-year-old stunner was praised for her "normal" size-4 figure following the swimsuit competition on Sunday, and now the beauty queen is speaking out once again after becoming a role model for a healthy body image.
"I think the normality that everybody keeps talking about is just the fact that I'm relatable," she explained in an interview with People. "I'm confident in my own skin. I didn't obsess over being too skinny or not being tall enough. I knew that I would be going up against some girls that were 6'1" and professional models. That's them; I'm celebrating who I am."
According to the mag, Diehl maintained a high-protein, low-carb diet and exercised seven-days a week prior to the competition with a goal of being strong and healthy—instead of focusing on the number on the scale.
"Before I started training for Miss Indiana USA, I weighed around 128 lbs.," she revealed. "Then I gained muscle mass and weighed around 135, 137 lbs. when I left for Miss USA. I didn't really worry about my weight. It's just a number."
Diehl's "just a number" mentality is part of what has earned her a loyal legion of fans, including Miss USA Nia Sanchez, who described the stunner as "fit, healthy and active."
But while Diehl has been praised for her curves, the Indiana-native describes herself as having an "athletic build" and reveals that her weight fluctuates just like the rest of us "normal" girls.
"It's so funny that people are calling me curvy because I'm naturally quite the opposite. I'm so up and down," she said. "I actually worked to emphasize the small of my waist to make me look a bit curvier."
Despite her killer figure, Diehl was cut from the competition after she received too low of a swimsuit score and admits that the positive response on Twitter was just what the doctor ordered.
"For someone who had just been knocked out of the competition because her swimsuit scores weren't high enough, it was a boost of confidence that I needed to enjoy the night," she says of the overwhelmingly positive social media reaction.
The size-4 beauty queen, who previously called the response to her figure "so cool," also confessed that being a positive role model is ultimately more important than the crown.
"If I'm inspiring, then in the end, I've won in more ways than I ever could have imagined," she gushed.