The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Crown for the big & beautiful

Cullinan (South Africa), Nov. 5 (AFP): This is no ordinary beauty contest. It is neither glamourous nor elegant. But it is “hugely” entertaining. The Groot Gat Godin competition, translates (politely) from Afrikaans as the Broad Bottomed Beauty.

It is a first in the small South African mining town of Cullinan, east of Pretoria, where large women with dress sizes starting at 18 compete for the regional title. A school hall, complete with old wall paintings of ox-wagons and Afrikaner trekkers, is the setting for the ground-breaking event. It sports a specially built and very solid catwalk.

Backstage, the 21 nervous participants add finishing touches to their make-up. “Are we stressed'” a plump blonde in a sparkling red and silver evening dress asks mockingly, pointing with her chin to the cigarette in one hand and the beer bottle in the other. Next to her sits Rensia ’Reilly, clasping a cigarette between her long, red, fake nails, and cooling herself with a small battery-operated fan.

’Reilly is probably the most striking — and heaviest — of them all; a brunette with green eyes. She is not shy about showing off her full bosom encased in an enormous Victorian-style purple dress with a tight bodice, accompanied by a golden shawl and matching lace umbrella.

But nobody stands a chance against Elize van Zyl, an attractive schoolteacher from Cullinan. Although she seems to be the thinnest of all the contestants, she clinches the crown with ease. ’Reilly is second princess.

Van Zyl’s plans for her year as the Pretoria region’s Groot Gat Godin' “I will never ever try to diet again in my life. I have a title to defend and I will do it to the best of my ability,” she says.

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