A SOUTHAMPTON student has shown how to beat the bullies – by setting her sights on winning a prestigious beauty contest.
It’s hard to believe now, but 18- year-old Harriet Page was picked on as a schoolgirl because of her looks.
Harriet suffered from bad facial acne. She had no confidence and feared going into school because of what her classmates might say.
But five years later, former Brookfield School pupil Harriet has made a shortlist of beauties aiming to reach the final of Miss Hampshire 2012.
Harriet, from Locks Heath, entered the competition after being encouraged by her family, and she said the decision has given her a new sense of self-belief.
“My mum told me I should enter.
She just said ‘go for it’ and I did,”
“This is the first beauty pageant I have entered like this, so I didn’t expect to get anywhere.
“I haven’t thought about what it would be like to win. I would be speechless.
“Just to get this far and be in with a chance of reaching the final is amazing. I’m so happy just with that,” she added.
“It’s helped build my confidence even more. A while ago I couldn’t go out anywhere without make up on, but now I feel confident enough to do that.”
It is a far cry from her experience as a 13-year-old, when she hated going to school, because of the verbal abuse she received.
Harriet was eventually given the most powerful drug for combating acne, Roaccutane, which she took for four months.
And five years on, only the smallest of scars remain, but she uses her experiences at school as a driving force.
“My skin was so bad that I got a lot of comments, things like ‘dart board,’” Harriet added.
“It knocked my confidence so much and I never wanted to go in the next day.
“It just made me want to prove to the bullies that I could do something.”
Harriet went on to gain four A-levels at Barton Peveril College and is now studying for a degree in Spanish and Italian, at Cardiff University.
But the title of Miss Hampshire could prove to be the icing on the cake.
• For details on how to enter the Miss Hampshire competition, visit missengland.info. Entries close on Friday January 27.