After being a victim of bullying at School, Alicia Loveday began suffering from anxiety and was left with low self-esteem. But the brave 23 year-old has made it her biggest mission to put all of that behind her and has become Miss Nottingham 2016.
Here, I talk to the beauty pageant about beating the bullies and what being Miss Nottingham really means to her...
Hey Alicia, what's life like being a beauty pageant?
To be honest it does feel a little different, I actually feel like a somebody now, but other than that it's amazing being all dressed up on the night, being on stage and seeing the confidence in the other girls. And not only that but my niece looks up to me even more now.
How has life's changed in recent years?
The appearances at events, meeting new people and my anxiety and confidence seems to be improving.
Is anxiety quite a big thing for you then?
Huge! I have suffered with it for years now, I used to let it hold me back from jobs and meeting new people and also stage presence. It's very rare you will even see me smile, haha. The story of my anxiety goes so deep.
Do you find that being in the public eye and having anxiety is extra pressure?
Yes definitely, I had my second panic attack a few weeks before the pageant so I was a little worried, however, my anxiety is much worse when it comes to talking to people. It's weird as I would feel more comfortable singing to a small crowd than talking to a small crowd.
In recent news stories, It seems you've had quite a tough time of it with bullying, tell us a bit more on that and how it started?
Well I will keep it as short as I can, but it started really young when I was around the age of nine and It would start with being singled out in P.E, from the laughs behind my back when in the dinner line , being called "horse teeth", "twiggy", "her legs are thinner than my arms"... all sorts and I was never the girl to wear makeup around that age so I definitely wasn't a very popular girl. I had two friends and we was "the funny ones" but the thing is, they never got bullied. Maybe I just let it happen for too long and I remember walking past some girls on the way home from school and my heart was racing, thankfully they didn't say anything, but then I would hear one of the girls running behind me and just doing the little things, like say things about my body to the other girls and then she pushed me and just left me alone after that. I would now still walk down the street with my head to the floor and just have my head phones in, I never told mum until the point things were getting bad at home which I won't go into but basically I wasn't the only one being bullied in our family so it was time to move and I only told mum about it a few years ago.
Is spreading awareness of bullying important to you and something you want to be able to do to help others?
I would love to help others! Girls and boys today don't see name calling and pushing as bullying or even singling people out. If I had the slightest clue on what to do to help others, other than give my advice and relate to some of them, then I would definitely love to do something to make a big impact.
What advice would you give to aspiring beauty pageants?
Go for it! It's the best thing I've ever done! Learn to separate nerves from excitement.
What goes on In a typical week of being a beauty pageant?
well, with me it was have a sunbed, a break from makeup until the trip to the final, a lot of nerves mixed with excitement. I did a sky dive a few weeks back which was the first time I had ever been on a plane, so for other girls that had done charity work of any sort then they would be getting together there money or their publicity entries.
You've not long ago signed to Lucky 7 management, how's that been going?
Great! They are lovely to work with and I love going to the events when I'm not working.
Would you ever enter Miss Great Britain again?
Yes! I will be next year.
You can now follow Alicia Loveday on Instagram: www.instagram.com/alicialoveday_official/