Miss Indiana Mekayla Diehl on becoming a social media phenom

Miss Indiana USA Mekayla Diehl attends the 2014 Miss USA preliminary competition at The Baton Rouge River Center on June 4, 2014, in Baton Rouge, La. Stacy Revere, Getty Images

Miss Indiana Mekayla Diehl became the social media phenomenon of the Miss USA 2014 pageant when she revealed a bikini body that actually dared to look perfectly normal on Sunday night. Now, she's responding to the positive attention -- and also sharing a dark secret from her past -- with ET.

The 25-year-old tells ET that despite being eliminated from the competition because her swimsuit scores weren't high enough, "Having such a positive feedback on my body, [it feels like a win] in itself."

Many on social media applauded Diehl for her refreshingly healthy look, as opposed to looking like what some termed a "twig" during the competition. Surprisingly, she is actually 25 pounds heavier than the average Miss USA contestant. At 5'8", she weighs 137 pounds and wears a size 4 dress.

Related video: Pageant wives get brutally blunt on Bravo's "Game of Crowns"

"I'm 25 and a woman, so I'm glad I look womanly," she says proudly of her natural look.

Another aspect of her make-up that she owns confidently is a painful secret from her past -- she was sexually molested when she was a child by a family friend. But instead of living in shame, she works with other young women who have suffered abuse.

"I think I'm inspiring a lot of young girls, which is what we need in today's society," she says.

Watch the video for more:

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.