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Miss Teen Ireland Emma

Miss Teen Ireland Emma Gavin is not your average beauty queen as she's using her title to raise awareness about depression and suicide prevention.

Transition year student Emma is the Worldwide Ambassador for Live Out Loud - a suicide awareness charity in Chicago and also volunteers with Addiction Recover Ireland.

Emma (15) from Maynooth was bullied when she was younger but found that her confidence and self-esteem increased greatly when she started competing in beauty pageants.

"When I thought about pageants, I thought fake tan, nails, hair but when I did one I was shocked because it was more natural and personality-based," Emma said.

"I was bullied when I was younger quite a bit. My friend realised that I was really shy and she encouraged me to do a pageant.

"I was afraid because of the stereotypical pageant girl but my confidence shot up after my first one," she added.

awareness

As the Worldwide Ambassador for Live Out Loud, Emma will spend the next year making appearances and raising awareness in both Ireland and America.

"I have to make a minimum of 20 appearances where I talk about suicide prevention and raise awareness," she said.

"I want to share my story and to show people that you can go through so much but it's possible to come out better for it.

"I'm in Transition Year so I really want to use this year to raise awareness for these charities," she added.

She got a taste for modelling at a Live Out Loud fashion show in Chicago and Emma hopes to pursue a modelling career when she's older.

"I'd love to enter the Miss Ireland pageant when I'm older and maybe pursue a modelling career.

"The only thing I don't have is height as I'm only 5'2 but that doesn't really matter in America - height is more important here but I'll be knuckling down for my Leaving Cert before then," she added.

Emma encourages any young people who may be bullied to come forward and talk to someone they trust.

"I'd just say to anyone who's being bullied to speak to someone you're comfortable with."

hnews@herald.ie


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