A beauty queen who was born with ONE ARM is using her title to raise awareness of disability and encourage youngsters to pursue their dreams.
Katie Cooper, 20, defied the odds to be crowned Miss Worcestershire despite her deformity and being a single mother to a disabled child.
Katie was born with no left forearm but said she has never let her physical appearance get in the way of her aspirations.
The inspirational mum juggles working in a fast-food restaurant and looking after 17-month-old daughter Eden, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
After winning Miss Dream Street Worcestershire in February this year she now hopes she can inspire others to follow their dreams.
She says she is also using her victory to show her disabled daughter she should not let anything hold her back.
Pretty Katie will now face 70 other women in the finals of the prestigious beauty competition which will be held in Cannock, Staffs., on August 9.
She was entered into the event by her twin sister Claire Cooper, 20, in a bid to boost her low self-confidence.
Yesterday (Thurs) Katie, from Worcester, said: “I was unsure about how I would do in the competition because I’m not a very confident person.
“I don’t see myself as having a disability because my arm has never stopped me from doing anything.
“But at times I would be embarrassed about it and would hide it under a jacket as people would stare, especially at school.
“After having Eden I decided I would try to get over it for her sake to set a good example for her.
“My sister entered me in it and then told me and I wasn’t sure about it because of my confidence but I decided to do it three days before.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was announced as Miss Worcestershire in front of the crowd, I was shocked.
“After winning the regional round as well as another branch of the competition – Miss Inspirational – it really boosted my confidence.
“And that is something I want to pass on to my daughter Eden.
“I am really proud of myself and I don’t want her to feel she can’t do anything or let anything hold her back.
“You can do anything if you try and I will make sure she knows that as she is growing up.
“And that applies to any young people with disabilities, it should not stop you living your life to the full.”
Little Eden was born with a form a cerebral palsy in March last year and doctors warned Katie that her development might be slower than other children,
But the mum said her daughter is doing well and she thinks the adorable tot will be crawling and walking sooner rather than late.
Katie, who lives with her dad Rob Cooper, 56, and other sister Leanne Cooper, 24, is also a keen dancer.
She added: “I was just born with my left arm like this, my mum and dad didn’t know so it was a surprise.
“But despite my arm I took up dancing when I was 11 and I’ve been a champion freestyle dancer.
“Eden was born with cerebral palsy and isn’t crawling or walking yet but is doing really well so should be soon.
“My dream is to be a professional dancer or showgirl. I stopped dancing when I was about 18 but want to start up again.
“I’ve always danced and never let it stop me, and having Eden has made me more confident because I want to set a good example.”
Katie, who works part-time at KFC, beat dozens of other hopefuls to be crowned Miss Dream Street Worcestershire at Worcester Rugby Club on February 8 this year.
She had to answer an on stage question, create her own outfit from recycled materials and catwalk in an evening gown.
She is now hoping to beat 70 other hopefuls to the Miss Dream Street UK crown next month.
* Dream Street run an annual beauty pageant open to aspiring female models aged between four to 40 in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
On their website they say they aim “to help aspiring models gain confidence and meet like minded people whilst thinking outside the box.”