Published: 00:01, 13 January 2016
A teenager is set to represent Kent in the Miss British Beauty Curve 2016 pageant.
Demi-Louise Bailey was chosen from numerous other hopefuls to represent the county at the glitzy show in Brighton’s Old Market Theatre.
The 19-year-old applied for the competition in October after she caught the pageant bug from her time as Miss Sheppey Carnival Court Princess 2013.
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She said: “I couldn’t complete my term as princess because I broke my ankle quite badly and I had to have surgery, but I’ve been addicted to pageants since then.”
But her journey to plus-size amateur model has not all been smooth-sailing, with Miss Bailey enduring years of bullying as a youngster.
The Sheppey College hairdressing student said: “I’ve always been a big girl and I’ve had my share of schoolgirl bullies and grown up with that.
But, if anything, it has not made me feel like I shouldn’t be doing this because now I look at them and say, ‘thank you, you made me the strong person I am today’.”
In July, Miss Bailey, who is being sponsored by Cuddles ‘N’ Bubbles pet shop, Broadway, Sheerness, will battle it out against 60 other women to be crowned the UK’s curviest beauty.
Contestants will be judged in a range of traditional categories, such as fashion wear, swim wear and evening wear, as well as marked on their answers to questions.
Miss Bailey, of Delamark Road, Sheerness, is hoping the pageant will help her fulfil her ambition to be plus-size ambassador/model.
She said: “People have come to realise that actually we are different shapes and sizes.
“Whether another person agrees or not, if you feel beautiful, you are beautiful.
“We’ve got so many good plus-size role models, but I’m not just doing this for plus-size women, I’m doing this for all women to feel empowered.”