When 22-year-old India Rewha from Hornby became pregnant in her last year of high school, she was bullied and shamed for it.
The harassment shattered the former school prefect’s confidence and she did not want to leave the house.
Fast-forward five years and she is a woman transformed and a finalist in the beauty pageant, Miss Five Crowns New Zealand.
Miss Rewha said joining the pageant has enabled her to become herself again and through her journey she hoped to inspire other young women like her to rediscover themselves.
“I remember I was at a mall with my best friend and these girls were just really nasty and were pointing and laughing at me and made me feel not wanting to go out in public,” she said.
“I don’t want other young mums to go through it because it’s horrible.”
After she interviewed to be part of Miss Five Crowns last month, Miss Rewha thought she would not make the finals in October, saying it felt amazing to take part.
She is now preparing to take part in the pageant – but the competitions in Miss Five Crowns’ are a bit different from most.
“For example, most pageants would have a swim wear competition; this one instead has what you would wear in a holiday because a lot of women don’t either feel comfortable or it’s against their culture,” Miss Rewha said.
Her cat-walking skills needed a bit of fine-tuning, she said.
“I am very excited, I know it’s going to be a lot of fun and a lot of work but it’s definitely going to be worth it. I’m in this for the experience and to meet new people,” Miss Rewha said.
Miss Five Crowns national director Pam Cummings said the five crowns stand for five points of empowerment.
“They are higher self-esteem, higher confidence, higher empowerment, accepted by inclusion and by learning to care and share,” Mrs Cummings said.
From the five crowns an overall winner would be chosen based on all the points, she said.
•Registrations are still open for this year’s competition at www.missfivecrowns.co.nz/