Kirsty is crowned Miss England
Published 17/06/2013 | 00:27
A woman who suffered from selective mutism has overcome her shyness to become Miss England 2013.
Kirsty Heslewood, 24, was once so shy she would not speak to anyone outside her home. It was not until the age of seven that she began speaking at school in Hertfordshire and she gradually became more outspoken as she grew up.
And when she got into modelling as a teenager she really found her confidence. But it was a case of second time lucky for Miss Heslewood, who was a finalist in the competition last year.
She was able to enter again after winning Miss North London and was crowned Miss England 2013 at the Riviera International Centre in Torquay, Devon.
Miss Heslewood, dressed in a flowing red gown, faced tough competition from more than 50 other rivals from across England.
The Stansted Airport worker beat Miss London City, Nena France, and Miss Preston Guild, Mary-Kate McKay into second and third place respectively.
The 5ft 10in blonde, who has A-levels in maths, English, biology and design and technology, takes over from last year's winner Charlotte Holmes.
Miss Heslewood, from Bishops Stortford, said after her triumph: "I'm overwhelmed and so relieved. I've worked so hard for this and I'm so glad it's paid off. I'm ecstatic - I don't know what to do with myself."
"I used to suffer from selective mutism, which is when you can't speak at all," she said. "I used to have really bad self-esteem and confidence and I took part because I was intrigued and I wanted to build my confidence and I wanted to see what it involved and make friends as well," she added.
Miss Heslewood, who will enjoy a host of freebies including a trip to Mauritius, will go on to represent England at the Miss World final later this year in Indonesia.