Rebekah Hemsley, from Clifton, has defied both her bullies and medical conditions to become a semi-finalist in the Miss England beauty pageant.
Rebekah, 23, who has been modelling for almost 10 years, says it wasn’t all smooth sailing as she has battled depression and anxiety due to bullying from an early age.
The competition, which is open to 17-24 year olds from around the UK, has been narrowed down to just 20 contestants.
Contestants enter with different titles and Rebekah is campaigning to become ‘Miss Social Media’, which could see her through to the next round.
But things didn’t always look so bright for the Miss England hopeful, as she was bullied so badly at school that she had to be tutored at home.
Rebekah was taunted about her nose and called ‘anorexic’ by peers, but she says it encouraged her to achieve her dreams.
“From primary school onwards was constant bullying. They taunted me for the way I looked. It actually pushed me into modelling – I thought, it’ll show you!”
Rebekah also believes that her humble beginnings and difficult past give her an advantage over the other contestants as she has gained life experience.
As well as anxiety and depression, Rebekah also suffers from endometriosis, a debilitating condition and heart problems.
She has organised a charity event at The Lace House, in aid of the British Heart Foundation, to help people with conditions like hers.
The event will be held on the 11th of February and will include a Jazz band and chocolatier.
Rebekah says she understands that Miss England is about both brains and beauty, and aims to use her voice to raise awareness of issues like her heart problem.
If Rebekah is successful in this round, she may be up against current ‘Miss Nottingham’, 18-year-old Rebecca Drysdale.
Both Nottingham contestants are signed to ‘Model Students’, a modelling agency based at the University of Nottingham.
Anna Gray runs the company, and says that she is excited for both of the girls.
“It’s really great to be able to say that two of our girls are in the Miss England final, but it’s difficult as well because we want both of them to do really well and wish them both lots of luck. The company between us are going to treat them both equally.”
Let’s hope, however the competition goes, Nottingham can crown a Miss England beauty queen.