Whenever I tell people that I’m involved in beauty pageants, they immediately think of the stereotypical beauty pageant contestants on TV show Toddlers and Tiaras. They imagine everyone involved has false teeth, artificial hair and fake tan which is far from true. The ethos at Miss Scotland is always to be yourself.

I first became interested in pageants when I was 12 years old. I was a member of a modelling school and the teacher was Miss Scotland Caledonia 2012, she organised tours to model and when she was handing over the crown, I remember watching her and feeling completely inspired. She was glamorous, intelligent, and a good person. I thought,“I want that to be me.”

I was shy as a child which meant that pageants really challenged me. When I modelled I was expected to keep a straight face, but pageantry tested my interpersonal skills like my ability to make eye contact with the judges, be confident and answer questions under pressure.

When I first started, there were times when I worried that I would mess up the questions asked by the judges or fall on stage, but I learned just to pick myself back up and keep walking. I competed against 13 to 17 year olds with every contestant getting dressed up for the occasion in something they feel confident in. It can be stressful, but everyone supports each other because we’re all on the same journey.

I didn't win my first pageant, but it was never a case of being jealous if I didn't make the title, I just saw at it as a learning experience. It took me two and a half years until I won the title as Miss Queen UK in 2016. I felt so many different emotions on that day, I was the youngest in the age group to win the title which was a complete shock to me.

I use my personal story from being shy to becoming confident to help other girls. If I'm in an exam I think back and say, “I believe in myself and I can do this.” Now I teach younger children to do the same because I want them to feel confident in their own skin too. To most people’s surprise, the pageants don't base their winners on looks, they look at the candidate’s achievements.

As a model and pageants representative, I’m proactive in my community by fundraising for local causes or working with the elderly. I started hosting pageants in March 2015 and have been on the judging panels since 2016. Through pageantry, I’ve met so many inspiring young girls who work to make their community a better place.

Teenagers are often thought of as drinking and partying too much, but really there are lots of young people like me who want to help in their communities. I’ve learned that this is always appreciated and sets an example for younger children. I want to help young people have their voices heard.

I will be handing my crown over as I make the transition from school into university, but I will continue helping with pageants. Pageantry has made me the person I am today. For me, pageantry has taught me to believe in myself.

Visit misslittlescotland.co.uk