A 16-year-old girl whose life was made hell by cruel bullies who teased her during her school life has had the last laugh – after being crowned a teenage BEAUTY QUEEN.
Emily Redfern only entered the prestigious pageant to boost her confidence after she was constantly tormented during her five years at secondary school.
She suffered panic attacks in lessons and even skipped classes to avoid girls who were making her life a misery – because they were “jealous” of her good looks.
Even when the teen got home, she was cyber-bullied over Facebook – where she would be called a “bitch” and “slag” by people she thought were her friends.
Emily admitted she hit rock bottom as a result of the bullying, was frightened to leave the house alone and suffered from low self esteem.
But after entering the Miss Teen British Empire competition she was stunned to be announced the winner of the international pageant – at her first attempt.
Emily, from Stappleford, Nottingham, says: “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, who is now studying fashion retail at New College Nottingham, first started getting picked on in Year 7 at George Spencer Academy.
She added: “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 help other victims and will be taking part in a sponsored sky-dive on June 24.
She said: “A skydive is something I’ve always wanted to do and having the title of Miss British Empire has given me the platform to be able to do this.
“I don’t want to be a crown chaser, I want to use this title to help others who have been, or are still being, bullied.
“I know how low it can make you feel, and if it helps somebody else then it will have been worth it.”
Proud mum, Lisa Redfern, 48, said: “I don’t think words can describe how proud we are.
“I had a lovely, happy daughter who went off to secondary school and we lost her for five years.
“It is amazing to see her smiling again.”
To sponsor Emily visit www.gofundme.com/emilyskydive4CB