Miss Universe Contestants Overcame Weight Issues, Kidnapping & Terrorism To Make It to the International Stage

by Raphael Chestang 6:21 PM PST, December 17, 2015
Playing Miss Universe Contestants Overcame Weight Issues, Kidnapping & Terrorism To Make It to the International Stage

Miss Universe contestants are known for their beauty, but this year, it's their stories of survival that make them stand out.

Miss France Flora Coquerel showed ET the pride she takes in representing her country after their tragic terrorist attack, which she was grateful to have escaped.

WATCH: At Least 100 People Killed at Concert Hall in Paris Attacks

"I was in the stadium during the terrorist attack in Paris. It was a very terrible moment," she told ET while preparing for the show in Las Vegas. "The French people are strong, and the international people are with us and that's the most important."

Explosions were heard at the Stade de France, during a soccer match between France and Germany on Nov. 13, in the attacks that left more than 100 people dead.

Miss South Africa Refilwe Mthimunye survived a kidnapping just last year after she was taken captive while on her way to work.

WATCH: The Inspiring Stories of the Miss Universe Pageant

"I think, when that happened to me, I didn't think it was a punishment. I didn't think I deserved it. To me it was more about appreciating life," she said. "I also feel that coming here -- this is my story to tell, and this is what I have to share with the world."

After the incident, Mthimunye refused to live her life as a victim and now advocates for women who have been sexually assaulted.

Miss Spain Carla Barber Garcia helps people in her home country as a plastic surgeon. She specializes in burn patients and disfigured children.

"Five months ago, I was working in a hospital," Garcia said. "I'm a doctor, and I was making my 24 hours round with no makeup, with my hair a mess and flat shoe, and now I'm here."

Miss Bahamas Toria Nichole told us that before she formed her to-die-for figure, she was once 200 pounds.

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"My family has diabetes and stroke and high blood pressure, so that kind of made me want to take a step back and go more towards exercising and eating healthy," Nichole said. "When I first got here I was about 159, so it's not necessarily fat. I've learned that muscle that's giving me the weight, but I think I look pretty good!"

The 2015 Miss Universe Pageant airs Sunday, Dec. 20, on Fox.