A budding model who battled body confidence has won two awards at Miss Swimsuit UK’s semi-final.
Yollanda Musa, of Levestock Green, was voted number one for social media engagement and was crowned Miss Congeniality at the Chelmsford event.
The 27-year-old, who works as a business support worker, used to be teased for being too skinny by her family, and lacked confidence at school.
But Yollanda’s faith in her figure grew through beauty pageants, finding her passion in swimsuit modelling.
“I haven’t always been confident about my body and so entering Miss Swimsuit UK was pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying a new challenge,” she said.
“On the day of the event I noticed that every single girl was unique and there was a diverse range of body shapes so I embraced my unique look and worked it on stage.”
Yollanda says she was raised in an African community where the “ideal” body shape was to be curvy.
“In my high school years I compared myself to other girls who appeared more curvy and feminine,” she said.
“But participating in beauty pageants and photoshoots has really helped me develop my self confidence.”
Yollanda won the Miss Congeniality award after she was voted the kindest and supportive contestant by her competitors.
“It was so heartwarming to hear the girls voted for me to win the Miss Congeniality Award,” she said.
“They were so friendly which always helps ease my nerves at competitions.”
The part-time model also scooped the social media award for the most engagement online.
Yollanda added: “I’m really happy as I worked so hard on my social media strategy.
“Social media to me is the catalyst to my success in modelling.”