A 16-year-old girl, whose life was made a living hell by bullies taunting her about her looks at school, has got the last laugh after being crowned a teenage beauty queen.
Emily Redfearn, from Stappleford, Nottingham, says she only entered the pageant as a way to boost her self confidence after five years of enduring torment about her appearance during high school.
And she was completely stunned when she took home the gong at the Miss Teen British Empire competition, in her very first attempt.
I was ecstatic. I wasn’t expecting to win as it was my first competition. I was so shocked. It just goes to show that people who get bullied will always have the last laugh.
Emily says she hit rock bottom as a result of the bullying in her younger years, which started from Year 7 at George Spencer Academy. She suffered panic attacks in lessons and skipped classes in order to avoid the vile girls who were making her life a misery.
She was also a victim of cyberbullying, called a “slag” and a “bitch” online, all of which left her with low self esteem and frightened to even leave the house.
I don’t actually know why they picked on me. My family and friends have always said it was probably jealousy over my looks. I’ve never said that, I never had the confidence to believe that. But throughout my whole school life I cannot see what I could have done to deserve the abuse I received.
People would call me vile human being and a slag. The cyber-bullying became very nasty. I got added to a Facebook chat in Year 8 about going swimming to a local baths where someone told me they hoped I drowned. The school just told my mum I needed to toughen up. There was no support there whatsoever.
The mental side of bullying can be as bad if worse as the physical side, so I want to raise awareness and get more support available. I hit rock bottom. I would skip classes to avoid certain people. I would cry every night and have panic attacks at school knowing the abuse was around the corner. But I am proof that it does get better and I can see a happy future now.
Emily is now raising money for charity Combat Bullying to raise awareness and help other victims, and she’ll be taking part in a sponsored sky-dive on June 24 – which you can donate to via her GoFundMe page.
Congratulations to Emily. It’s always great to see a victory for the good guys!