A Canadian beauty pageant winner is alleging on social media that Emirates airline offered her a job as a flight attendant and then rescinded the offer after she disclosed her history with an eating disorder.
Madison Kvaltin, who was crowned Miss Universe Canada 2023 last month, said she had prepared to travel to Dubai before the airline informed her she was no longer being offered the job.
In a TikTok post, Kvaltin said she was “disgusted” at what she went through in the job process. (On TikTok she goes by Madison Kvetlana, but her bio on the Miss Universe Canada page says Madison Kvaltin.)
“I submitted all my documents, perfect easy peasy,” Kvaltin said. “Then, they sent me this extremely detailed and intrusive health document that I had to submit [with] all this information on my personal health and a lot of things that had nothing to do with my ability to complete the job.”
One of the questions included in that document was “Have you ever struggled with an eating disorder?” according to Kvaltin. As required by the questionnaire, she disclosed that she had struggled with a “very severe eating disorder” when she was younger, which resulted in a brief stint in the hospital.
“But I’m now recovered well and empowering other young women to get through those dark times,” she said in the post. “So I wasn’t about to lie on this health document and say that I didn’t struggle with an eating disorder.”
Then Emirates emailed her back informing her she was no longer being on-boarded, Kvaltin said.
“I am disgusted that they are, I guess, discriminating against me for struggling with an eating disorder,” Kvaltin said on TikTok. “It’s nothing to do with completing the job or being a flight attendant. I don’t understand why they would even ask an intrusive question like that.”
Emirates has been criticized in the past for its restrictive policies for flight attendants.
In 2021, a page on its website listed basic requirements for its cabin crew, including an “arm reach of 212 cm while standing on tiptoes,” no visible tattoos and being “physically fit” with a “healthy Body Mass Index (BMI),” according to Insider. A version of that page currently exists on Emirates’ website, but references to physical health are no longer there.
In 2021, former Emirates flight attendant Duygu Karaman told The Mirror she went through three years of weight checks at the airline after a colleague reported her for being “too heavy.” Former employees spoke to Insider last year about an “Appearance Management Program” run by image and grooming officers, nicknamed the “weight police,” that ensure flight attendants meet the Emirates’ “standards.”
Employees in the program were given diet and exercise plans and met with hiring resource representatives to check their progress. If employees failed to lose weight they could be subject to weight checks and punishments, such as pay cuts or suspensions from flying, a former HR representative told Insider.
“As a global airline, we treat the wellbeing of our employees with the highest priority, and we believe being fit and healthy, both physically and mentally, is a critical aspect in them carrying out their duties safely and effectively,” Emirates told Insider in a statement in Jan. 2022. The airline did not immediately return a request for comment from The Messenger.