A TEENAGER taking part in a beauty competition is urging other girls to stand up and be confident in themselves.
Amber Holden, 18 from Havant, will be taking part in Miss Swimsuit UK later this year.
Having faced an onslaught of bullying during her school years, Amber is hoping to come out of her shell by taking part in the competition – and wants other girls to find a confidence-boosting outlet as well.
She said: ‘I’m entering Miss Swimsuit UK as more of a confidence thing.
‘I’m doing this competition for myself and to boost my own confidence – it has taken me a long time to come out of my shell.’
Amber, currently a lifeguard at Havant Leisure Centre, has been inspired to take part in the competition by her mother, who fought off breast cancer a few years ago.
Amber said: ‘When my mum was going through breast cancer treatment it was a very emotional time.
‘But my mum is my biggest inspiration – I used to be very self-conscious and was also bullied at school.
‘But watching mum go through her treatment made me come out of my shell.
‘My mum is so supportive of me and always has my back – she really is my best friend.
‘It made me realise that life is actually quite short, so if you have goals you want to achieve you should push for them sooner rather than later.
‘I learned to stick up for myself and it has definitely made me a stronger person.’
Amber says she is looking forward to the learning experience of the competition.
She said: ‘This is my first ever competition, and I’ll probably be one of the youngest girls there.
‘Everyone taking part in the competition has already been chatting to one another, so there’s a really friendly atmosphere between everybody.
‘I think the important thing is to just be yourself – a lot of girls these days are always trying to look like someone else, but it’s all about being happy and confident in your own skin.
‘Although it would be amazing to win, I am most excited to meet new girls with similar interests and make some new friends.’
Amber will be taking part in the second heat of the competition in Leeds on Saturday, May 12.
To prepare, she is on a strict diet and gym regime.
She said: ‘I am kind of nervous about it because I haven’t done much posing practice.
‘But I love being in the gym and am there about five times a week – but the dieting is quite tough.
‘I love food so a diet of egg whites, veg and chicken is a bit too dull for me!’