Miss World Netherlands Dilay Wilemstein shocked the beauty pageant world this week with an announcement that she was pulling out of December’s Miss World finals in Puerto Rico over the contest’s requirement that all contestants get a COVID-19 vaccination, the New York Post reported Thursday.
“I would like to inform you that I will no longer represent the Netherlands in Puerto Rico, on the big Miss World stage,” Wilemstein wrote. “This is partly due to the vaccination obligation, personally I am not ready for this yet.”
According to Wilemstein, she did not find out that she would have to get vaccinated for the Dec. 16 Miss World pageant until after she was crowned Miss World Netherlands in July.
“After I was crowned, we were told that if you want to go to Miss World you must be vaccinated,” she told the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, according to an English translation of the paper’s website.
The victory was a “dream for Dilay, who also sings and works as a model and dancer, to represent the Netherlands.”
But the vax requirement was a no-go for the Dutch beauty.
“I thought about it carefully and considered taking the jab, but at a certain point I thought: I’m not ready for this at all,” she told the paper.
She later added, “I don’t feel good about it. I don’t know if I’ll take that shot later.”
Wilemstein told the paper this wasn’t a decision she reached overnight.
She said that because she had months to make up her mind, she “put it off all the time,” but eventually she “had to give a date that I would take the vaccine.”
The closer the day got, the more uncomfortable she became.
Wilemstein said she talked with friends about it and they noticed her discomfort.
“They said, ‘You really don’t want it at all,'” Wilemstein recalled. “This was simply the best choice for me.”
Though she had to give up her dream and hand the December finals duties over to Miss World Netherlands runner-up Lizzy Dobbe, Wilemstein said she’s not afraid that she’ll regret her choice.
“This is my choice at the moment. I stand behind that. I think I would have regretted more if I had done something that I actually don’t feel comfortable with,” she told Algemeen Dagblad. “The day I made the choice, it felt really bad. But I like to look ahead.”
“This door will close, but new doors will open for me.”
Miss World Netherlands has not responded to Algemeen Dagblad’s request for comment.