There can’t be many Miss Fylde finalists who have been through as much as Robyn Porteous in their young lives.
The 25-year-old, who grew up on the Grange Park estate, was kicked out of her family home aged 18 after she – by her own admission, went “off the rails”.
She drank, hung around with the wrong crowd and spent months living in a hostel.
She suffered from anxiety and depression.
But since then, she has turned her life around – she shares a house in North Shore with her partner, has a job working for 24/7 Professional Care and is now through to the final of this year’s Miss Fylde Coast beauty pageant. She hopes sharing her story will provide inspiration and comfort to others in difficult situations.
Robyn said: “I really hope this will be a chance to change people’s perceptions.
“It’s not about if you win or lose, it really is the taking part that matters. It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like this.
“I decided to entered the contest after coming out of a long-term relationship, in which I was always made to feel I wasn’t pretty enough, or good enough.
“I wanted to show people you can come from living in a hostel, having no money – to being 25, having a career, a nice home and entering a beauty competition.
“When I was younger, my mum had no choice but to kick me out of home. I was terrible and she just couldn’t cope anymore.
“I wasn’t going to college, I was drinking, staying out and not going home, never helping at home. My mum was ill and I was just going off the rails.
“Being in a hostel was a very difficult time for me. The people were great, but there were people with issues and addictions and I knew I had to get myself out of there. It wasn’t the right atmosphere.
“It made me realise things had to change. I had two options – I could carry on, on a downward spiral, or I could get help. The support I had was amazing and I got the help I needed.”
Robyn managed to move out the hostel into a flat and get her life back on track.
And she rebuilt her relationship with her mum.
She said: “Our relationship is so much better now, my mum has been amazing. She’s always there for me and she is so supportive.
“She has fibromyalgia, so I help her whenever I can.
“I was suffering from depression and anxiety, but now I’m off the medication. I still have bad days sometimes, but I know there is help.
“My life experiences have molded who I am.
“I want to tell people they are not alone, help is there, and they can get through it.
“And there are always people going through worse.
“My motto now is ‘count yourself in’.”
Robyn is busy getting stuck into fundraising for the pageant’s chosen charity, Variety Children’s Charity.
She is also looking forward to the grand final, on November 6, at Thornton Little Theatre.
“I really enjoy helping people, I work for an agency looking after people,
“I’ve been holding car boot sales to raise money for Variety for the competition. The work Variety does is amazing.
“It means a lot to me especially that they help young people.
“We have to make an eco-dress so I am planning that at the moment. I love 1920s style, I love the glamour of that era.
“The contest has been amazing so far. It’s really boosted my confidence.
“My boss, who is really supportive, can’t believe the difference.
“I now feel I can do things.”