A woman who was bullied as a teenager and branded an ‘ugly lesbian’ because of her short hair has had the last laugh – after becoming a CATWALK MODEL.
Kirsty Baxter, 23, suffered severe bouts of depression and even attempted suicide after years of relentless torment.
She was targeted by cruel playground bullies where she grew up in Leicester who teased her because of her edgy looks and interest in rock music.
Kirsty started self-harming as a teenager and was caught minutes after taking an overdose when she was 14.
But she has now overcome her confidence issues after finding success in a beauty pageant and has been contacted by a number of modelling and acting agencies.
Kirsty beat 20 other women to come second in the regional rounds of the Miss Dream Street competition.
She was just one point behind the winner and has been entered into the national finals in Birmingham on Saturday.
Yesterday, Kirsty said: “When I applied to the beauty pageant I never thought I would be first runner up in the regional rounds like alone go through to the finals.
“I’ve never considered myself to be attractive, beautiful or anything like the kind of beauty that’s associated with beauty pageants.
“I was bullied from about the age of 10 right up to 18 because of my looks.
“It started with typical high school bullying and as I got older it progressed to centred around my appearance.
“I don’t think I was fat but I was bullied because I was larger and I had short hair and everyone else was doing the teeny bop thing in the 90s.
“But I dyed my hair pink and listened to rock music. I always felt different to everybody else.
“I found two people who I thought were friends but then I found out they were spreading rumours behind my back.
“It was things like because I had short hair I was a lesbian so no girls would ever come near me.
“I was always ostracised, it became a voice in my head wherever I went that said ‘you’re completely unattractive’.
“Because of this I became depressed and started self-harming and I attempted an overdose when I was 14.
“That was when my mum became aware of the bullying because she walked in on me.
“She was able to help me out and talk about it.”
Kirsty has recently completed a degree in Drama and Performance as well as a postgraduate degree in Theatre for Young Audiences at the University of Worcester.
She is now auditioning for film and TV roles and plans to enter other beauty pageants thanks to her new found confidence.
Kirsty, who now lives in Worcester with her boyfriend Mark Games, 34, added: “When I was younger there was no-one that I could look up to who looked different.
“So I hope my story will make people realise they don’t have to be a size zero or look like Claudia Schiffer, you can be beautiful just being you.
“I’ve been through various forms of therapy to help with my self confidence.
“I entered the beauty pageant one a whim when I saw it on Facebook and it said it was open to all ages and all sizes.
“Modelling is always something I’ve been interested in doing but I’ve never had the confidence to do it.
“But since taking part in the Miss Dream Street competition I’ve entered other beauty pageants because it has given me a real boost.
“My family and friends are really proud of me for conquering my fears.
“I know I can now achieve whatever I want to.”