For Emily Baldwin, stepping out onto the stage in the Miss Fylde Coast contest next week will be a big achievement in itself.
For the best part of a year, the 22 year-old, of Cleveleys, was unable to leave the house alone, she suffered from such severe anxiety.
Now she has graduated from university, works for the Silverline elderly helpline and is hoping to pursue a career as a make-up artist. And she is through to the grand final of one of the Fylde coast’s biggest beauty pageants – Miss Fylde Coast on November 6, at Thornton Little Theatre.
Emily said she was delighted to be announced as a finalist and taking part in the contest had already been a major boost for her confidence.
She said: “We already had a full day of meeting each other as contestants and meeting the judges, at the Imperial Hotel, and it was amazing.
“We did a lot of activities and one of them was for the girls to compliment each other. I actually made one of the girls cry, because she said nobody had ever said such nice things to her.
“It will be my third time taking part in the competition. For me taking part in that day itself was quite a bit thing, to socialise with people, meet new people and it really boosted my confidence.
“That’s what I love about this competition, you make such good friends. Everybody is so lovely and supportive.
“I feel a real sense of achievement already – just getting to the final. I suffer from severe anxiety and I didn’t leave the house for over a year on my own. But this has been my goal.
“I just love it, the glamour, getting dressed up, meeting the other girls, making friends. I want to get across what a difference Miss Fylde coast and Miss England have made to my life and the friendships I have made, as well as my growth in confidence. Mark, Mary and all the team have been incredible and work so hard to make these events happen.”
You can support Emily by visiting facebook.com/Emily-Baldwin-Miss-Fylde-Coast-2016-Finalist