Woman denied New Zealand passport for being 'too fat'

A South African woman who went viral after officials in New Zealand denied her residency because she was "too fat" says she wants to become a plus-size model.

Mondelea Bezuidenhout had moved from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to Palmerston North, New Zealand, in 2018 to start a new life with her husband and young children.

But she was devastated when officials snubbed her residency application because her body mass index (BMI) was "too high".

She was told her excess weight would put a strain on New Zealand's public healthcare system and was ordered to either lose 30 kilograms or leave the country.

Despite the ordeal, she has embraced her figure.
Despite the ordeal, she has embraced her figure. Source: Newsflash/Australscope

But Ms Bezuidenhout, 36, managed to remain in New Zealand after a tribunal granted her a special exemption to stay after she appealed the decision.

During the ordeal, she managed to lose 10 BMI points and secure a referral from her GP saying she was in good health. And now the woman, who once weighed 128 kilograms, has raised eyebrows by saying she wants to become a plus-size model.

She told South African media: "I've always wanted to be a plus-size model, like the Donna Claire ladies - I even named my daughter Donna-ŹLee."

Ms Bezuidenhout told how she now works out five days a week and is "not bothered by fat-shamers who made me feel as if I was a criminal".

She also spoke of the surreality of her story going around the world, telling South African media: "It's very strange to have complete strangers discussing your body.

"It went as far as China and to know everyone was talking about it was weird."

The mother of two added: "I've always been bigger than other people and I've accepted myself for who I am."


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