Don’t bully this beauty queen.
A young woman from England is proud to be a confident competitor in a national pageant, rising above intimidators to become an anti-bullying advocate.
Rheanna Cartier recently won a spot in the wild card round of the Miss England finals, slated to take place in July 2021. The 17-year-old is excited to use the platform to help victims of bullying and promote inclusion, having been bullied in school herself at a young age, South West News Service (SWNS) reports.
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“It was really hard,” Cartier said of the rough times. “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. I had been talking to a boy in the year above who was quite popular and I think it was just jealously,” the Kingham, Oxfordshire, teen said. “I remember on one occasion one of them saying ‘Why don’t you just kill yourself?’ – it was quite extreme.”
“I remember not having any friends as nobody wanted to be friends with someone who got called names and it just escalated.”
At one low point, when Cartier was 12, she got picked on by an older girl who was nearly 16. The harassment continued, and she got into a fight – prompting her parent to intervene.
“My mum had to come in for meetings because I wasn’t doing my work as I hated being at school so much,” Cartier said.
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When the Miss England hopeful was 14, a family friend suggested she spend a year at boarding school for a change of scenery and pace. Cartier soon shipped off to Skals Efterskole, an international school near Viborg, Denmark, a positive experience she called “transformational.” There, the student was able to study for the GCSEs and find confidence among a new group of peers.
“Without that, I don’t know what I would have done. I would never have recovered and I think it would have got worse,” she said of the clean slate at Skals Efterskole. “It proved transformational – I started eating healthy and working on myself and doing a lot of self-care.”
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Back in the U.K. and studying for a degree in real estate, Cartier recently entered the pageant to push herself and grow as a person.
“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,” she said of the endeavor.
Cartier was one of 19 contenders selected for the wild card round and looks forward to the Miss England final next summer. Beyond the glitz of the pageant, the teenager truly hopes to make a difference with her anti-bullying advocacy.
“I want to help others who might not have the opportunity I did to escape their bullies,” she told SWNS. “It affects so many people and I think this competition could give me that platform I need to help other people.”
In the meantime, a junior doctor continues to reign as Miss England after the 2020 pageant was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Bhasha Mukherjee was crowned Miss England in August 2019 and will hold the title until the spring. Mukherjee, who is fighting the viral disease on the front lines from the COVID-19 units of the hospitals where she works, will be the longest-serving Miss England in the event’s history.