A student who was struck down with anxiety after she was bullied for having buckteeth has had the last laugh – by being crowned a BEAUTY QUEEN.
Pretty Alicia Loveday, 22, began suffering from the mental health disorder and was left with low self-esteem after being taunted by cruel classmates.
She was subjected to four years of verbal abuse when her family moved from her home in Newark, Notts., to Manchester, when she was just nine.
Playground bullies would call her “buckteeth” and “anorexic” in the middle of class because of her naturally slim frame.
The hurtful comments left Alicia afraid to leave her house unaccompanied and even drove her to self-harm.
But the stunning blonde has now silenced her bullies by becoming a beauty queen and is preparing to take part in the Miss Great Britain 2016 final.
Yesterday (Thur), Alicia, who is the reigning Miss Nottingham, said: “It all started at the age of nine when we moved to Manchester.
“It began with little things like being excluded from conversations to being picked last in PE.
“I just thought it was a typical school thing so thought nothing of it at first but then it started to get me down.
“A few years later I started high school and I was walking around by myself all the time.
“I remember there being a group of four girls who would constantly torment and embarrass me.
“They would point out how shy I was and would call me ‘buckteeth’ because I had big teeth.
“I was also quite tall and really skinny which wasn’t cool in those days.
“They would call me ‘anorexic‘ but I didn’t actually put weight on until I was about 18 so that comment always stuck with me.
“I felt so low all of the time. Half of the time I thought I was being picked on because I was the new girl, but then the comments really affected me.
“We lived in a rough area and it was very lonely. People would put fireworks through our letterbox.
“I never went out and I had no self-confidence. It gave me very bad anxiety.
“I considered self-harming and my big sister used to do it so I used to think that if that’s how she coped then I would cope too.
“I tried it once but I told mum straightaway and we ended up moving back to Newark.
“We never stayed in the same house for more than three years so it was hard to adjust all the time.”
Alicia, who works at an independent living facility for vulnerable adults, is studying for an NVQ in nursing.
She is also hoping to embark on a modelling and singing career but only applied for her first beauty pageant five months ago.
Alicia, who lives in Newark, added: “I always wanted to do modelling but I was turned down by agencies or they wanted money we didn’t have.
“My friend suggested I sign up to a beauty pageant. It was a completely random moment.
“I never in a million years thought I would even be considered, let alone win Miss Nottingham.
“I want girls who are where I was and feeling very low to know that things get better and you can follow your dreams.
“I used to watch the pageants when I was very young and think how much fun it looked.
“My little niece asks if I’m famous and calls me a Disney princess, which is nice because I never went to prom so I’m really looking forward to dressing up in a gown.
“Now doing this is helping my confidence. I don’t mind having my picture taken.”
Alicia is now getting ready to travel to Athena, a conference venue in Leicester, for the Miss Great Britain final on September 23.
She is supporting the Newark Patriotic Fund throughout the contest in memory of her hero uncle Corporal Ivano ‘Sean’ Violino who was killed by a roadside bomb on in Helmand Province in 2007.
The charity supports wounded and mentally-scarred servicemen and women as well as their families in the local area.
Miss Great Britain contestants will compete to raise the most money for the contest’s charity – Capital FM’s Global Make Some Noise that supports small good causes.
They will also compete in Miss Great Britain’s Got Talent, for the public choice vote, beach body, publicity, personality and best smile.
For her talent category, Alicia will show the judges a YouTube video of her singing Ed Sheeran’s I See Fire or Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk.
Public voting for Miss Great Britain began on Tuesday (23/8) and Alicia is hoping people will share her profile on the competition website on their social media accounts.