Sunday Life

| 17.6°C Belfast

Derry beauty queen competing for Miss GB crown to represent mums and promote understanding of autism

Miss GB hopeful Amy hopes to use raised profile to teach about autism after trolls mock sons

Close

Mason (6) and Noah (4) were subjected to online abuse by internet trolls after Amy was crowned Miss Derry earlier this year

Mason (6) and Noah (4) were subjected to online abuse by internet trolls after Amy was crowned Miss Derry earlier this year

Amy Doherty

Amy Doherty

Derry girl Amy is proud to represent her city

Derry girl Amy is proud to represent her city

Amy co-parents with the boys' father and aims to win Miss GB to represent mums

Amy co-parents with the boys' father and aims to win Miss GB to represent mums

/

Mason (6) and Noah (4) were subjected to online abuse by internet trolls after Amy was crowned Miss Derry earlier this year

Beauty queen Amy Doherty says she is more determined than ever to educate people about autism after vile online trolls mocked her sons, with one even saying they just “need a slap” for their condition.

Model and mum-of-two Amy (26), from Kilfennan, Derry, was crowned Miss Derry 2022 earlier this year and will compete for the title of Miss Great Britain in October.

She is mum to Mason (6) and Noah (4), both of whom live with autism, and says she was initially inspired to compete in the pageant to spread awareness about the condition but became even more resolute after they were subjected to online abuse.

“The reason I chose to compete in the first place was mainly because of the platform it would give me to raise awareness for autism,” she told Sunday Life.

“It’s close to my heart because both my boys are autistic, being involved in the autism world so to speak, I see for myself that if you don’t know much about it you can be quite ignorant to it.

“One of the first interviews I gave after becoming Miss Derry, the online comments were so bad about autism, it was awful. People can be so rude and uneducated about it.

Close

Derry girl Amy is proud to represent her city

Derry girl Amy is proud to represent her city

Derry girl Amy is proud to represent her city

“There was one man who said, ‘Autism didn’t exist back in my day, I’m sure her kids aren’t really autistic, they just need a good slap’.

“The comment is still online I think, it’s that sort of thing that just makes me want to speak up more about the condition. It gives me more of a drive because what I’m wanting to do is definitely needed and comments like that prove it.

“I just want to educate people more on what to look out for and hopefully help to drive more inclusion in society.”

Amy was bullied at school and says watching her son Mason get excluded in nursery due to his condition inspired her to try and effect change.

Close

Amy Doherty

Amy Doherty

Amy Doherty

The young mum, who suffers from spinal curvature condition scoliosis, continued: “When Mason was on his nursery journey we found that even within the nursery he was attending they didn’t really understand autism very well.

“His nursery session was supposed to last six hours but they asked if he could just stay for an hour because he was ‘too disruptive’ to the class and was too much hard work.

“This resulted in him hurting himself, he felt very isolated and left out and didn’t understand why all the other kids got to stay but he was being told to leave early.

“He just couldn’t wrap his head around that at three years old, so I’m hoping by spreading more awareness of the condition we can help to bring that kind of ignorance to an end.”

Close

Amy co-parents with the boys' father and aims to win Miss GB to represent mums

Amy co-parents with the boys' father and aims to win Miss GB to represent mums

Amy co-parents with the boys' father and aims to win Miss GB to represent mums

Of her own time in school she said: “I was very quiet and didn’t put myself forward for much, I just kept myself to myself, if I was asked a question in class I would want to just hide.

“I think people saw that and it made me an easy target to pick on because I wasn’t going to talk back.

“Then I developed scoliosis at around the age of 14 and that didn’t help, I felt even more insecure and wished even more to blend into the background.

“Seeing Mason go through a similar experience with his nursery journey and being left out of things due to his condition made me want to do something to change that.

“When you become a parent it just changes your outlook on life and I might not have been the best at defending myself but whenever it comes to my boys I’m definitely very protective and will fight anyone and anything I need to.

“Becoming a parent has really brought me out of my shell a lot and given me the confidence to be where I am today.”

Pageant newcomer Amy is relishing the chance to represent her native Derry at the Miss GB competition in Leicester later this year.

In preparation for the event she has been getting help and advice from some of Ireland’s top beauty queens, including current Miss GB and Co Down girl Eden McAllister as well as former Miss Universe Ireland Nadia Sayers, from Co Tyrone.

Amy added: “I’m completely new to all this so I’m just taking it as it comes. I’m lucky though because I know Eden McAllister so she’s been giving me a lot of support.

“I also know Nadia Sayers so I’m lucky to be getting her advice too. I’m just going to them two and getting as much help as I can.

“I’m really looking forward to it and I’m very happy to represent Derry because we’ve never been represented at Miss Great Britain before so I’m excited about that.

“The people of Derry have been very supportive and I’m very grateful for that and I’m excited to put Derry on the stage. I’m also excited to be a mum on the stage because a mum has not won Miss GB since 2003 which is mad, I’m hoping to change that and represent all the mums out there. Even if you’ve got kids there’s nothing stopping us from achieving things like this.”


Top Videos



Privacy