A beautiful way to beat the bullies

Miss Pre-Teen Northern Beauty UK 2012 Elisha Leigh Underwood, 12 and Miss Tiny Sunderland Glitz Sparkle Layla Smart, 5 are pictured with Helen Arnold from Lush who are donating a prize to be auctioned.
Miss Pre-Teen Northern Beauty UK 2012 Elisha Leigh Underwood, 12 and Miss Tiny Sunderland Glitz Sparkle Layla Smart, 5 are pictured with Helen Arnold from Lush who are donating a prize to be auctioned.
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A 12-year-old beauty queen is helping to beat bullying.

Elisha Leigh Underwood scooped three crowns at a community-centre beauty pageant in Sunderland, which included impressing judges with her fancy dress take on scary film character Beetlejuice.

Now the Sunderland schoolgirl is raising funds for anti-bullying charity Bullies Out.

Elisha, from Red House, is carrying out the charity work to help her secure a place in Miss Natural Sparkle 2013, which takes place in York in January.

Hopefuls must carry out community work in their home town.

Along with her proud family, Elisha helped staff at Lush in the Bridges, Sunderland, raffle off goodies to shoppers.

The Castleview Academy pupil has been going to dance classes since she was a toddler and hopes to become a dance teacher.

Mum Teresa Scott, who danced herself as a young girl, says she hopes it helps her daughter’s confidence after she was bullied.

“I have a daughter who is four. I entered her in one competition and they wanted her to wear false hair, but I just let her go natural and she came second.

“I think it is a bit much for a four-year-old, but Elisha can make her own mind up.

“She doesn’t wear makeup during the day, only if she is going to a party.”

Miss Natural Sparkle is open to beauties of all ages, including boys.

Entrants aged 0-12 can compete for the Miss Community Sash title by taking part in charity work.

Sister contest, Miss Glitz Sparkle sparked controversy in the national media, amid claims it was sexualising young contestants.

But Miss natural Sparkle organiser Leanne Woodall said there was a difference between the two events.

She said: “Natural sparkle there is no make up, spray tans or hair pieces allowed, in glitz sparkle all the above is allowed.

“I know people have a idea that it equalizes children, but it’s all part of dressing up and having fun whilst being on stage performing.

“No child is ever forced on stage; it’s all about building their confidence, whilst they get to dress up and be princes or princess for the day.”

“Benefits of entering my pageant system are friendship, self confidence, fun, communication skills, poise, can teach children to be gracious winners and good losers, learn aspects of rules and fair play and helps with self esteem.”

Twitter: @janethejourno