Tia Woodall is only 11, but she is out to prove she is not just a pretty face.
The North Shore schoolgirl loves taking part in beauty pageants, but also loves to raise money for good causes.
Tia will be braving a nine-hour climb up Ben Nevis at the end of this month, in aid of children’s hospice Claire House and a new charity set up by her mum, called Dream Queens.
She regularly travels the country with mum Leanne, talking part in beauty contests and sometimes in America.
Her mum says doing the pageants has helped her grow in confidence and self-esteem and the pair want to change people’s perceptions of the contest, while raising money for various charities.
Mum-of-six Leanne said: “Especially in the UK, people have a misconception about beauty pageants. Some contests are all about make-up and fake tan, but not the ones Tia does.
“These ones focus on natural beauty and being beautiful on the inside – thinking of others, being kind, doing work in the local community and raising money for charity.
“She used to be so shy she didn’t want to go to school. Taking part in these pageants has really boosted her confidence.
“We did a fund-raising night the other week and the compere couldn’t make it, at the last moment. So Tia stepped in as compere herself! She did brilliantly.
“She thinks of all the fund-raising ideas herself. She’s always asking me if we can things for charity. She’s raised about £4,000 over the last few years.
“Even if she’s not doing events, she likes to donate toys to charity shops or food to the homeless shelter.
“We recently went to America and visited one of the schools in a very deprived area of Florida.
“The children were asking what it was like to have a TV at home, as none of them do. Most are out in the street all the time, because their parents are always at work.
“Tia feels really strongly about helping those who need it. I am immensely proud of her.
“All the skills she is developing now will stand her in good stead.
“She’ll grow into an adult who is thoughtful and kind, who realises the importance of fund-raising for charity and will be confident and articulate with public speaking and meeting people.
“I’ve roped my husband, James, into helping by printing T-shirts, my mum makes the costumes for the pageants and even my youngest, who is three, helps folding clothes destined for the charity shop!”
And Tia’s enthusiasm has rubbed off on Leanne.
She has started a magazine about beauty pageants, called Miss Natural Sparkle magazine, and has set up a charity called Dream Queens – to help children less fortunate, whether it’s due to sickness, poverty or other circumstances. It will collect toys to hand out to youngsters at children’s homes, hospitals and women’s refuges, as well as money to those who need it.
Leanne and Tia recently took part in a ‘prison escape’ as part of their fund-raising efforts, this time for The Honey Pot Children’s Charity and Dream Queens. The challenge was to get from Chelmsford Prison, in Essex, as far as possible – without spending any money. They got to Tenerife!
To support them, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Dreamqueensworldwide or email leannemanu@btinternet. com