AN INSPIRATIONAL teenager who will represent Rugby at this year’s Miss Teen Great Britain competition is using her platform to spread an anti-bullying message.
Keelie Fowkes, 17, says taking part in the contest as Miss Teen Rugby is helping her build back her self-esteem, having been bullied when she was younger – and hopes to inspire other young people to do the same.
The Ryton-on-Dunsmore resident says she has always had a lack of confidence.
She told The Observer: “Miss Teen Great Britain is so far helping me build my confidence. I have met some amazing friends already.
“When I was younger, I experienced bullying which completely changed my view of myself. I lost a lot of self-confidence, and it has only recently got better again after three years.”
To raise money for charity BulliesOut, the Leamington College student is planning to climb Snowdon – and is spreading awareness by giving talks to school pupils about bullying.
“I really want to raise awareness about bullying, and that it is ok to feel down and to talk to someone about any difficulties – not to keep it in as it won’t get better if you do.”
During the two-day competition, which takes place at The Globe Theatre in Blackpool in October, she and her fellow grand finalists will take part in photo-shoots, compete in a ‘beauty queen challenge day’, and attend a ‘pyjama diva party’.
She will then take to the spotlight in three different outfits to compete against eight other finalists for the chance to win the Miss Teen GB title and a prize package including £1,000.
Keelie is looking forward to the experience – although she isn’t used to being the centre of attention.
“I feel very nervous as I have never been onstage before – but I hope to win the crown, gain more confidence and help many charities,” she said.
“I am most looking forward to meeting everyone in the competition and having a good time.
“My parents, my boyfriend and my friends are so happy to see me build my confidence again and inspire so many young people with my story. I have had so much support from them and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.
“For the future, I intend to become a midwife to help women give birth to their children. I also intend to become a part-time model if I can, and build up my charity work.”
Visit https://www.missteengreatbritain.co.uk for more information.
Visit https://tinyurl.com/2tjywfet to donate to Keelie’s BulliesOut fund-raising campaign.