THE Miss Universe Australia pageant has been hit with "skinny model" controversy after it was determined one entrant is officially malnourished.
Hurstville model Stephanie Naumoska, 19, is one of 32 girls from more than 7000 applicants to make the final in the event which promotes "healthy, proportioned, bodies''.
But Naumoska's gaunt appearance at a preview parade last night drew immediate criticism from onlookers, one saying she was "way too boney''.
"Contestants who had been eliminated were there and they said she clearly shouldn't have made the final because she is just too skinny,'' one said.
The model's agency website lists her as 180cm and weighing just 49kgs, which practicing dietician Melanie McGrice said gave her a Body Mass Index of 15.1.
"The World Health Authority rates people with a BMI of less than 18 as malnourished,'' she said today.
"She would be categorised as underweight and I would certainly want to be doing an assessment of her diet to make sure she doesn't have some type of eating disorder.
"With a BMI like that, she needs blood tests, diet analysis and an overall assessment.''
Naumoska was unavailable for comment and in rehearsals for tonight's event, but pageant director Deborah Miller reacted sharply to the suggestion she looked unhealthy.
"This girl has Macedonian heritage and if you have been there you would know it is a Macedonian body type,'' she said.
"They have long, lithe bodies and small bones _ it is their body type, just like asian girls tend to be small.
"So she does not have an eating disorder, there is nothing wrong with her.''
But nutritionist Susie Burrell said there was no such Macedonian body type.
"There is no evidence published anywhere to back up that assertion,'' she said.
"From examining photographs there does appear to be significant muscle wasting on the upper arm and legs.
"Individuals with a healthy BMI do not have such protruding bones _ especially around the rib and hip area.''
The finalists will parade in swimwear at the pagenat at the Hilton Hotel tonight, then parade in evening gowns before a final question and answer session with judges.
They include celebrity judges Deborah Hutton, Jon Stevens, designer Charlie Brown ad John Bailey, with panel head by pageant veteran Jonathan Westbrook.
"The swimwear section helps us determine if someone is fit, healthy and well proportioned,'' he said.