A beauty contest to bounce back: the story of Sandra Foucault, miss Small Beauty Ile-de-France 2023

A beauty contest to bounce back: the story of Sandra Foucault, miss Small Beauty Ile-de-France 2023

She fell, then she got up. On September 24, Sandra Foucault was elected Miss Small Beauty Île-de-France 2023, a beauty contest reserved for women under 1.70 m. “I entered this contest to have fun, meet girls like me, and show myself that I could set goals despite the pain.”

This pain, she made her acquaintance a year ago, by injuring her ankle to catch up with a friend’s wedding bouquet. “I was first suspected of a heavy sprain, then a rupture of the ligament… But my ankle kept swelling, it had become a post!” In January, he was finally diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Considered a rare disease, it is characterized by continuous pain in one region of the body. Then begins a period of anxiety lasting several months, to the point that Sandra is prescribed anxiolytics. “Your pain has a start date, but no end date. That’s what’s scary. I spoke to people for whom the pain had lasted two months, others for thirteen years…”she says.

Routine: studies – pain

The first of her sorrows is surely having to abandon the parades of cheerleaders, in which she participates “since'[elle] knows how to walk”. At the Foucaults, it is a family passion, inherited from his mother, and shared with his cousins. “Last year, as I couldn’t parade, I presented the gala. At the last rehearsal, we all cried together…”

Sandra Foucault in a majorette costume, at about 3 years old.

Going to Paris: a dream come true

From now on, his routine becomes “studies – pain“. “I gained weight because I no longer played sports, I even stopped shopping with my girlfriends, I was in too much pain“, she recalls. Then, little by little, the torpor disappears. With “the return of the sun”, then the fulfillment of one of his dreams: to live in the Paris region. In August, the native of Mesnil-Panneville (Seine-Maritime), a small village of 700 souls, puts down her suitcases in Thiais, 31,000 inhabitants. “I’ve always lived in the countryside, but deep down I’m a city girl. There’s always something to do. When I found out that the shops were open on Sundays, I was shocked! What I love here are the malls, I find them fabulous”, she explains while strolling through the alleys of Thiais Belle-Épine. The neo-Thaisienne also takes advantage of the capital’s places of culture, visiting a museum every weekend. His favorite: “The Louvre”, she said in a tone of evidence. His discovery: the Jardin des Plantes.

A competition with “feminist values”

It is with her companion, Hugo, whom she met in their university residence at the University of Rouen, that she settled in the region. He is in a Master’s degree in Adapted Physical Activities (APA), to teach sport to senior citizens or people with disabilities. She is a trainee teacher to teach in vocational high schools, health and social section. Both focused on helping people, they encourage each other. “He is motivated to make me try on my outfits, revise my general culture. This is my biggest support!”

The fishing found, Sandra will definitely turn the page by presenting herself in the Miss Small Beauty contest. A contest “to deconstruct the myth of the thin and slender girl”in accordance with its “feminist values”contrary to the stricter criteria of Miss France, which only tolerates women over 1m70, and which until last year did not accept married women and/or women with children. “The committee does not impose parades on us in swimsuits, leaves us the choice of our evening dress and does not force us to wear heels”details the miss Ile-de-France.

Final France on November 26

The competition also allows her to make a new friend. Romane Loubaresse, winner of the last Ile-de-France edition, coaches and advises her daily. “We have the same feminist point of view, and we also share our opposition to the World Cup in Qatar”, points Sandra. Roman confirms: “She knows she can count on me and I on her. She must be my favorite candidate!”

While waiting to participate in the national competition, scheduled for Comblessac (Ille-et-Vilaine) on November 26, Sandra is enjoying her regional crown: “Ile-de-France is officially my home now!”

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