FROM bullied schoolgirl to beauty queen contender – a young Basingstoke woman is representing Hampshire in a national pageant.

Charlotte Sage, 22, will be Miss Hampshire in the Miss British Beauty Curve contest, and in July will strut her stuff in eveningwear, fashionwear and swimwear in front of a panel of judges.

Charlotte, of Kipling Walk, South Ham, said: “I never thought I would be in a beauty pageant. I was obese as a child and I was very low in confidence. I was bullied and I wasn’t very happy.”

After turning 16, Charlotte became a vegetarian for a while and, by giving up fatty treats like kebabs and pork pies, was able to shed three-and-a-half stone. She is now a shapely size 14.

She said: “I still have problems with my confidence but I’m determined to do this. A lot of my friends and family don’t think I will go through with it but I want to prove to myself that I can.

“It’s nice that there is a beauty pageant out there for normal girls – one that you don’t have to be a size six to enter.

“Two-hundred girls entered the competition and to get into the final 20 has been a real confidence boost. I’m very nervous about the final, but even if I don’t win it has been such a great experience.”

Charlotte, who was born and raised in Bracknell and now works in a bar, will be up against 19 other girls in the final, which will be held in London in July. She will model a variety of outfits before taking questions from a panel of judges.

She said: “If it goes well, I definitely think I will continue to take part in pageants.”