A young woman who was brought up on a council estate and bullied as a schoolgirl has had the last laugh – after making the final of a prestigious MODELLING competition.
Pretty Rebekah Hemsley suffered taunts as she battled with problems including depression and anxiety as a youngster.
The 23-year-old entered the Miss England competition two weeks ago and was invited to take part in a series of rounds including a catwalk show and a photo call.
She has now been selected from over 100 girls to make the final 19 contestants in the hunt for the Miss Social Media title.
Rebekah, of Carlton, Nottingham, said she hopes to win the sash and go on to compete in the Miss England final.
The casino waitress added: “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. I always knew I had the potential.
“I’m in it to win it at the end of the day. I really want to use it in a positive way.
“I’m a normal girl from a council estate. I know a lot of people are but I’ve battled with problems including depression, anxiety and I was bullied when I was younger.
“I’ve turned that on its head and I’ve turned everything from a negative into a positive.
“Miss England would give me that voice to reach out. I understand that the competition is about brains and beauty. There’s a lot more to it.”
The competition is not the first time talented Rebekah has hit the catwalk as she has been modelling since the age of 14 and is also a keen dancer.
She added: “I’m a member of The Dance Studios, in Carrington Street, and if I were to get through I would do a ballet routine for the talent round.
“The amount of support I have received is so overwhelming.”
Her mum Christine Hemsley, 50, of Clifton, Nottingham said: “I think it’s the best time now.
“Rebekah has suffered a lifetime of depression and bullying but this is something she’s always wanted to do.
“She always tucked herself away but this couldn’t be better for her confidence.
“I’m encouraging everyone to vote – friends, family and neighbours. It’s just putting the word out.”
The Miss England contest has been taking place since 1928 and sees girls aged between 17 and 24 across the UK compete for the crown.
It describes itself as “not just a beauty contest – you have to be far more than just a pretty face to win the crown”.
Last year the competition got rid of the swimwear round and replaced it with the new eco round, where contestants were asked to design and make an outfit made purely of recycled materials.
The winner of Miss England – which is held every year – is also entered into Miss World.
To vote for Rebekah for Miss Social Media, go to www.missengland.info.