Veronika Didusenko: Model takes legal action after Miss World ban for being a mum

30 November 2019, 12:00 | Updated: 30 November 2019, 12:54

A model is taking legal action against the Miss World beauty pageant after she was disqualified for being a mother.

Veronika Didusenko is banned from taking part in the contest on 14 December because she has a five-year-old son, having lost her 2018 Miss Ukraine title for the same reason.

She was stripped of that honour hours after she had won it, with her status as a divorcee also counting against her.

The organising committee explained that the Miss Ukraine and Miss World competitions have the same rules because whoever wins the former goes on to represent her country for the global title.

The rules state that contestants and titleholders "must not be married or have given birth to children".

Ms Didusenko has now launched a legal bid in London against the organisers of Miss World, claiming that they are in breach of the Equalities Act 2010.

She is demanding they change their "outdated" entry criteria, saying it does not reflect how the world is in 2019, and is also campaigning on social media for the #righttobeamother.

The 24-year-old, who obtained a university degree before she started her modelling career, said: "It was really humiliating when I was disqualified. I couldn't believe they would do such a thing in this day and age."

While she admits she knew she was in breach of the rules when she entered Miss Ukraine last year, she claims competition bosses asked her to take part due to her high profile.

She has modelled for the fashion brands Maison Margiela and Escada, has worked at Paris Fashion Week, and is also the face of noted Ukrainian jewellers Zarina.

Upon being crowned Miss Ukraine, the judges were said to be impressed not only with her appearance and personality, but also her charity project Young Einsteins Ukraine.

The project works to identify orphaned children who are talented in the fields of maths and science, with a view to best preparing them for university.

Miss World chiefs have defended its rules that prevent Ms Didusenko from competing, saying they are designed to protect the welfare of children.