Have you ever had a dream or a goal in life that you wanted so desperately but your own fears have stopped you from fulfilling it? Yeah, me too!
For years I battled anxiety. I was crippled by the fears of being inadequate, a failure, not good enough, not smart enough, incapable, not tall enough, not pretty enough, the wrong size, the wrong colour, the wrong weight â€“ just not enough.
My own mental health took a severe battering at the hands of my low self-esteem. I looked in the mirror and barely recognised the girl looking back at me; I had fallen out of love with that girl. I spent a lot of my younger years comparing myself to others, measuring my own worth by how others perceived me. I didnâ€™t have any belief in myself or in what I was capable of. I didnâ€™t ever go to uni, I got pregnant at the age of 16, had to drop out of the Brit School for Performing Arts and I felt that my life was spiralling out of control. In amongst working full time and being a young mum I seemed to have forgotten who I was as a person.
A lot of my own insecurities were fuelled by the mediaâ€™s portrayal of how women should be. I was comparing myself to images of women that I could never compare to; tall, slim, perfectly toned and flawless bodies.
After years of beating myself up about the fact that I didnâ€™t compare to these â€śperfectâ€ť ideals, I started to notice that there were women on social media who seemed to look more like me, I happened across bloggers like Georgina Grogan, Georgina Horne, Stephanie Yeboah, Sam Rowswell, Debz Aiken, Lucia Morris, Leah Davidson and even our very own Laura Ferry â€“ beautiful and confident women who were unashamed of their bodies and proud to show the world that women come in all different shapes and sizes.
These women gave me life; they inspired me to try new things and to be more adventurous in my outfit choices. They werenâ€™t afraid to break the fashion rules and rock crop tops, stripes, bold prints, bikinis, bright colours, tight fitting clothing and a whole world of other things that we as fat people are told NOT to wear. They opened my eyes to the plus-size community and it was there that I began to truly fall in love with my body and began to realise that maybe I wasnâ€™t such a failure after all.
I am a great believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason, through the plus size twitter grapevine I happened across an advert for a beauty pageant which was seeking women who were a size 14+ to compete for a national title. Those good old â€śyeah right Kat, like they would EVER except youâ€ť thoughts crept into my head, but I had dubbed 2015 as my â€śyesâ€ť year. A year for trying new things and stepping outside of my comfort zone. When self-doubt reared its ugly head, I flushed the negativity out like a bad smell. Instead of saying â€śno, I canâ€™tâ€ť or â€śnah, itâ€™s not my thingâ€ť I tried to sub those phrases with things like, â€śyeah, alright thenâ€ť and â€śwhy the hell not.â€ť
I slowly started to realise that my own worst enemy wasnâ€™t anyone other than myself. I was preventing myself from experiencing more in my life, from being happy and from making new friends. I entered the pageant in the end; I actually did one betterâ€¦ I won!
My first ever beauty pageant and I won not only the title of Ms British Beauty Curve 2015/16 but I also won awards for Ms Publicity, Best in Swimwear (I wore a bikini for the first time ever on stage â€“ yes a full on, belly out and jiggly bits too, bright coloured bikini) Best in Fashion Wear (I wore my very first jumpsuit, but not just any jumpsuit, a tropical print jumpsuit complete with a bright pink blazer â€“ complete colour clash I know, but it rocked!) and Best in Evening Gown too.
Every outfit choice I made was a risk, I tried to really push my boundaries and it paid off big time! Not only did I win but Miss British Beauty Curve has become more than just a win for me. I have gained so much more than that, I was welcomed into a family of positivity, love and support from all of the girls who compete year on year. I have used my title to promote positivity and to help instil confidence in women all over the country, I have raised money for several charities and it has opened my eyes to a whole new world of life-changing experiences. Funny to think that it all started with me after all, no tricks, no gimmicks and no potionsâ€¦just me and my own self-belief and a big dash of â€śjust try itâ€¦.you might like itâ€ť attitude. I plan to conquer the world next, what are you gonna do?