A student who was forced to flee the country to escape being tormented by school bullies has had the last laugh – by becoming a BEAUTY QUEEN.
Rheanna Cartier, 17, began suffering with low self-esteem and stopped eating properly after she was taunted by cruel classmates as a youngster.
She says she was subjected to name calling and physical violence before her parents decided to move to Denmark to escape the abuse at only 14-years-old.
Rheanna attended Skals Efterskole, an international boarding school near Viborg, and spent a year there studying for her GCSE’s.
She said the experience helped her overcome her shyness and low confidence and she returned to the UK a different person.
Determined Rheanna has now silenced her bullies who used to brand her “a slut” and “a slag” after securing a place as a wildcard entry for next year’s Miss England finals.
She has also become an anti-bullying campaigner and hopes her story will inspire other victims and help raise awareness and money for charity.
Rheanna, of Kingham, Oxon, said: “I wanted to apply when I was younger but I never had the confidence to do so because of the bullying.
“It was really hard. I changed schools almost every year because we moved house a lot.
“I moved back to one school at 13 and I just remember my first day this group of girls in the year above just started calling me names.
“They would call me a slut and a slag. I had been talking to a boy in the year above who was quite popular and I think it was just jealously.
“I remember on one occasion one of them saying ‘why don’t you just kill yourself’ – it was quite extreme.
“Because I was so shy I didn’t let it affect me for about two months but eventually it all became too much.
“I remember not having any friends as nobody wanted to be friends with someone who got called names and it just escalated.
“I was so scared of walking down the corridors. One of those who would pick on me was nearly 16 and in Year 11. I was a 12-year-old girl in Year 8.
“It got me down quite a lot. They carried on and one day it all got too much for me so I reacted and ended up in a fight.
“My mum had to come in for meetings because I wasn’t doing my work as I hated being at school so much.
“My mum’s friend is Danish and private schools and upper schools over here were too expensive so she recommended going to Denmark to a boarding school.
“And within a few weeks I went there for a school year and sat my GCSEs out there. It was such a big thing but it really helped.
“Without that, I don’t know what I would have done. I would never have recovered and I think it would have got worse.
“It proved transformational – I started eating healthy and working on myself and doing a lot of self-care.
“After getting my confidence up I’m now trying to push myself just to do things that I wouldn’t do before and entering Miss England is one of those things.
“I would have been too nervous to do so before – but I’m not going to let those people stop me doing what I want to do.”
Rheanna, who is studying for a diploma in real estate, applied to Miss England after spotting an advert for the competition this October.
She added: “I just thought that would be something really fun to enter but also I could use this competition as a way to have a voice.
“I want to help others who might not have the opportunity I did to escape their bullies.
“It affects so many people and I think this competition could give me that platform I need to help other people.
“I feel I was sort of left without any help at my school and it is an issue that still happens today.
“My main focus for the competition is anti-bullying and helping victims afterwards so I am contacting lots of charities.
“My mums really happy about it because she knew it affected me for a long time and my confidence.
“She is also really passionate about my anti-bullying work because she saw how it affected me.”
Rheanna is one of 19 women who have been selected in the wildcard round for the Miss England finals which are due to be held in July next year.
Votes are now open online for people to choose their wildcard round winner and the Miss England app can be downloaded at missengland.page.link/app