Belgium Crowns Top Woman in Pageant Celebrating Inner Beauty

MONS, Belgium – In a celebration of inner beauty and body positivity, Belgium’s Top Woman pageant crowned its winner, Laurie Dreze, in an event that emphasized self-discovery and acceptance.

The 60 contestants, ranging in age from 23 to 64, were the latest graduates of a nine-month program designed to help women discover and accept themselves. The program also included elements of styling and pampering. Over 5,000 women have participated in this program since its inception.

“True beauty does not come from a perfect body that corresponds with what society dictates, but from a body telling a story,” said Nathalie De Reuck, 56, the founder of Top Women, the not-for-profit organization behind the event. De Reuck, a former model, created the program in 2014 after experiencing the harsh and destructive nature of the modeling industry.

De Reuck highlighted the negative impact of social media filters on women’s self-esteem and body image. “The beauty of us all is our body and our history. There is nothing to be ashamed of,” she emphasized.

Contestant Nathalie Halleman, a mother of eight, shared her transformation through the program. “The beauty of the body according to the image transmitted by advertising and fashion is short-lived. The real beauty is inner beauty,” said the 47-year-old. She reflected on her past struggles with confidence, noting, “Now, I smile.”

Participation in the pageant is optional after completing the program. The criteria for winning are based on the women’s attitude and personal growth, rather than their physical appearance. De Reuck, who heads the jury, noted that for many candidates, the idea of being on stage and a catwalk was once unimaginable.

The pageant culminated in the crowning of Laurie Dreze, who embodied the values of inner beauty and personal evolution celebrated by the Top Women organization.