A Littlehampton woman named Miss Sussex Curve 2019 is raising awareness of body image for Mental Health Awareness Week.
Alisha Cesa will be representing the county in the finals of Miss British Beauty Curve in August.
She said: “This pageant is a plus-size beauty pageant for women sized 14-plus. It’s all about celebrating diversity and embracing your natural curves.”
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and Alisha hopes by sharing her story, it will help others talk about body image and realise that size does not define the person.
Alisha, who has always lived in Sussex, talks of the bullying she suffered and how it has affected her.
She said: “It all started back in school, where I was the subject of bullying and torment because I was plus size - name calling, online abuse and sometimes even physical abuse for about six years.
“This did take a toll on my mental health to the point I didn’t think I was good enough for anyone or to be alive. Luckily, I had family and friends around me to get the help I needed and resulted in being diagnosed with depression.
“Now I am using my platform and my story to empower and show other young people that bullying does not define you, your size does not make you a lesser person of society.
“We can all say just smile more and it will all get better but I am a true reflection that it does. With the right support that is right for you, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I hope to do my county proud in the national final on August 24 in Maidstone.”