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Plus-size Tempe model fights to win Arizona Foothills magazine beauty pageant

Posted at 10:57 PM, Jul 10, 2017

Sitting in her living room, Karista Harris scrolls through the comments. She applied to be the 2018 Face of the Foothills, the cover model of the popular Arizona Foothills magazine.

"After I submitted by entry and votes and started advertising, I got several emails from people making comments about my size and making suggestions."

Suggestions that she lose weight -- but her body is just one aspect she says sets her apart.

"This is a great platform and a great awareness to show that beauty is beautiful in all sizes," she says. She's defied the odds before, winning several beauty pageants.

"This was my first triumph over tragedy that I won." 

She's owning her size and her story.

"For 12 years I was verbally and physically abused by my mother and told I wasn't beautiful," she said. "And then I was in foster care for four years and that's hard in itself."

Though adding another accolade to this shelf would be nice, winning is not what means the most.

"I've had a lot of people contact me with positive things and say, 'We're glad you're doing this, we're glad you're doing this for the community,'" she said. "We are beautiful in whatever shape or size we are or whatever we are going through."