A teenager who was bullied so badly at school she was forced to leave without qualifications has had the last laugh - after reaching the finals of Miss England.
Jade Power, 19, was so traumatised by the physical and verbal attacks by girls at her school that she left before gaining any GCSEs or A-Levels.
On one occasion bullies threatened to kill her and her family, punched her and pulled her hair.
But now 5ft 10ins Jade is in the running to be crowned Miss England in June after winning the Miss Sussex title in her home county.
Jade, from Rye, East Sussex, said: 'I was a bit of an outcast at school.
'I didn't have many friends and had to leave for my own safety. It was not the best time.
'I got punched and one girl said she would kill my friends and family. I now want to give something back.'
The bullying started when Jade joined secondary school aged 11 and callous students began to pick on her over her appearance.
'Girls didn't really accept me and I wouldn't consider myself as pretty,' she said. 'I was very tall, I hated my height, I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. I didn't fit in with all the other girls at all.
'I had one friend who I had known for a long time and that was it, she was my one and only friend.
'They called my really horrible names, I just felt so ugly and repulsed by myself.
'I was made to feel like an outcast. A couple of girls took it too far so I had to go.
'It was awful, I had this lovely long brown hair and I had to go to school with it tied up in a tight plait because there was this one girl who would just go for me and it was the first thing she would grab.'
She was attacked, beaten and abused and finally chose to leave her school when one of the main perpetrators threatened to kill her.
Traumatised Jade left school aged only 13 and got a job as a stablehand, mucking out horses, in return for the promise of a riding lesson.
It was then she came across Hero, a black and white horse who looks similar to a fresian cow.
Working with horses was a gamble and my mum really wasn't happy but she home schooled me and did all she could,' she said.
'Hero stuck out really badly and that's how people got to notice us.
We both stuck out so we bonded immediately. He is like my best friend, he really got me out of a situation.'
But undeterred, Jade made it her mission to teach and coach the forgotten horse and began to blog about her methods.
Her fan base grew and she began to receive messages of support from other people who were inspired by her journey with Hero.
She soon began winning numerous local and international show jumping competitions with her beloved pet and, thanks to her new-found confidence, decided to enter Miss Sussex.
The part-time model won the unanimous backing of the judges and the 'public choice' category at the competition in Brighton last Sunday.
While forging her career as an impressive winning show jumper and model, Jade also went to college to achieve A levels and get some qualifications under her belt.
She now plans to use her experiences and her title as Miss Sussex to produce a video and help scheme for other youngsters who are being bullied.
She added: 'I still can't believe I won Miss Sussex, I am so chuffed with it.
'It is absolutely incredible.'
She will now go on to represent Sussex in the Miss England competition in Devon in June.
Jade said: 'I am not nervous, it is exciting. It is hard to get over what they did to me and I wonder if I will ever really get over it.
'Winning Miss Sussex is so amazing and has definitely helped me grow in confidence.
'I would love to use this title to get involved in a bullying awareness campaign to see if I can at least use the experiences I had to help others who might be going through the same thing.
'It is important for victims of bullying to know that you can get through it and you can succeed.'
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Posted By: Salsita |
4/29/13 1:39 PM
I love to see girls have this kind of victory because it means the world to them