Kilwinning’s Miss Scotland 2021 finalist is hoping to use her platform to encourage young boys and girls to find their self-worth.

Shelly Smith, 20, is a former Miss Ayrshire winner and she hopes her nomination for the national title can help her stand up against bullying and discrimination, and fight against the “perfect” labels that are often found on social media.

The former Kilwinning Academy pupil has gone through some very challenging times of her own, and knows what it’s like to be constantly comparing yourself to the images that are portrayed as perfect on social media.

Since getting into modelling after winning the Miss Ayrshire title in 2018, Shelly has gone on to host her own ladies night to raise funds for kidney research, as well as hosting the Miss Glasgow & Ayrshire final in 2019 – something she wouldn’t have dreamed of doing a short time before.

Shelly said: “My motivation is to use this as a platform to help young girls and boys, the ones who are struggling to find their self worth.

Shelly and her sister, Iona during the Miss Ayrshire final

Shelly and her sister, Iona during the Miss Ayrshire final

“I’ve been there feeling not good enough, comparing myself to the “perfect” social media influences but this is where I want to come in, someone in the headlines that is normal and relatable. I have flaws and imperfections. I’m insecure but that’s part of being human.

“It’s such a hard situation to go through and my heart really does ache for young people going through it.

“I’m learning to accept who I am finally and own it, I hope young people see it and it inspires them too.

“I want to stand up against bullying and discrimination. If it wasn’t for COVID I’d have loved to be in the academies offering to set up a support system, to be a big sister, a friend to teenagers finding it hard just now.”

KSG photography.

KSG photography.

As a big sister, Shelly wants to ensure that her little sister can grow up without worrying about what someone on the internet thinks, and that the idea of the “perfect” image doesn’t exist.

She added: “I’m also a big sister. I want to be a good role model for my sister Iona, she’s 13 and she’s my reason for doing everything, why I push so hard in life. I want her to be proud of me, she’s my best friend.”

Due to restrictions, this year’s competition will take place mostly through social media, with the 12 nominees taking part in five challenges, representing a charity of their choice. Shelly will be representing Respect Me - Scotland’s anti-bullying service, to further enhance her message and what she stands for.

The final of Miss Scotland 2021 takes place on August 27, and you can track Shelly’s challenges and progress on the official Miss Scotland 2021 social media channels.

Good luck, Shelly from everyone at Ayrshire Weekly Press.