A STUDENT is flying the flag for curvy women as she aims for national glory in the modelling world.
Eighteen-year-old Rachael Marsden has made it to the final of Miss Natural Curves 2011.
The Chester-le-Street beauty, who is a size 12, will compete in the contest on Saturday, April 30, with the winner going on to the Miss England event.
Rachael, who admits she has no previous experience of modelling, explained how she decided to enter.
“I saw it one day on one of the agency sites on the internet,” she said.
“I’m not the skinniest girl in the world and I thought I’d give it a go.”
The New College Durham performing arts student then sent pictures and details about herself to the organisers and was chosen by judges and the public alike as one of the final 24.
“I have never done anything like it before,” added Rachael.
“Everyone has been dead supportive about it and they are helping me 100 per cent.”
Mum Josephine, 50, dad Neil, 47, and brothers Neil, 25, and Anthony, 23, are now hoping Rachael will take the crown at the contests in Bedworth, in the Midlands, and progress to the prestigious Miss England competition.
Rachael said: “They have all been very supportive and I’m confident I can win.
“Because I’m into performing arts, that has helped my confidence and any nerves a lot.”
Despite it being the trend in recent years for female models to be very thin, Rachael said it is great that women of all shapes and sizes are getting a chance to strut their stuff.
“I think being curvy is the new in thing now,” she said.
“I am proud to have my figure the way it is and if they don’t want me the way I am, then it doesn’t matter.”
The winner of Miss Natural Curves will also scoop a modelling contract with a London agency for a year.
“It’s something a bit different for me, but I’m sure it will be a great experience,” said Rachael.