Thetford’s Jade Bailey battles back to win international beauty pageant title Miss Regency International
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Seven years ago Jade Bailey competed in a modelling competition which would change her life.
The then 18-year-old, who lives in Thetford, was told by judges she needed to loose weight.
Taking the words to heart Miss Bailey, who is naturally curvy, lost three stone in just three-and-a-half months and ended up becoming anorexic.
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She said: 'It was a horrific experience. I was called an unsightly view and on social media people were saying I didn't win because I was disgusting to look at. My only score on my judging sheet was loose weight.'
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Discussing her battle with the eating disorder she said: 'I would go four or five days without any food. Then I would eat half non-fat yoghurt and then continue.
'I had body dysmorphia. Now I look back at pictures and it is shocking I was that small.'
But Miss Bailey has battled back to have the last laugh, recently winning the international pageant title Miss Regency International in Las Vegas.
The finance worker won Miss Diamond UK which enabled her to enter the international title. She competed against 15 other woman from across the world to take the crown. She was also voted Miss Congeniality - the most likeable competitor.
The 25-year-old, originally from Brandon, said: 'The last seven years I have fought for someone who said I couldn't win because of curves. And I have come back and I now have an international title and I have multiple national titles.
'The last seven years had been building up this and stepping out on that stage I knew I belonged there and the title belonged with me.'
Miss Bailey now gives workshops to 12 to 16-year-old girls where she explains the importance of self-worth.
She said: 'There is nothing in the dictionary that defines what perfect is. It is society creating a bubble and thinking people need to fit in. People need to find their own perfection.
'I am trying to get it through to them that they own their own lives and not society. I have had girls cry during the workshops.
'The response has been incredible.'
She added: 'I am glad that what I went through happened as it made me the person I am today. I would not have had this experience to share with the younger generation.'
Comments about her weight and an eating disorder are not the only challenges Miss Bailey has had to overcome.
Three years ago the pageant queen was having trouble swallowing and noticed a lump in her throat.
At first she was told it was an overactive thyroid but six months later she had surgery to remove the thyroid because it was covered in cysts.
Miss Bailey said it took more than a year for doctors to diagnose her with cancer.
And for a year after she became very ill and developed a life-threatening condition called myxoedema coma - caused by extreme hormone levels.
She said it is only within the last seven months that she is starting to feel more like herself.
'It is exhausting and affects me every day. I have no thyroid anymore and they [doctors] are still trying to find out my levels.
It is a daily battle. The thyroid controls your temperature, weight, hormones, mood and fertility.'