Kat Henry from Croydon is the winner of the 2015 British Beauty Curve competition. The former BRIT and Coloma School student became a mother at 17, and had struggled with her weight and confidence until she realized that size did not matter by entering plus size beauty pageants.
Life wasn’t always this great for Kat. She was bullied by her peers at school and by strangers in public for many years. She told ELL: “Strangers would barge me in the street and call me fatty.” Kat recounted how she had been punched and kicked because of her size, which seriously undermined her self-confidence.
Kat said: “I was bullied for being fat and because of my teeth. I was born with a calcium deficiency which completely ruined my teeth whilst I was growing up, my teeth were very brittle, they could even break at eating something as soft as a banana.“
Added to that Kat was battling with severe dental phobia. “I struggled to face my biggest fear of dentists to get them fixed. I currently wear a temporary denture and hope to one day have implants but that doesn’t worry me, I’m so much happier and confident now I have my smile back.”
Although Kat’s school had been supportive in fighting the bullying problem, it was a problem she faced and overcame mostly on her own.
Bullying in the UK has been a problem for many years. It’s the fourth biggest reason children call ChildLine’s free and confidential helpline. Last year ChildLine offered over 25,000 counselling sessions for victims of bullying and cyber-bullying.
Rosanne Pearce, a senior supervisor at ChildLine, said: “There is a change in the kinds of bullying happening today. In the past bullying was physical or verbal, now it’s cyber bullying, online and even at home.” She said it was vitally important for schools to have an anti-bullying policy.
A spokesperson at Croydon Council said: “Each council does not have an anti-bullying policy, each school is responsible for its own policy in dealing with bullying.”
Kat’s advice for anyone being bullied is to tell a teacher, parent, or any person in authority who can help, no-one should keep quiet about being bullied. Kat uses her experience to positively motivate and help people build their confidence and those who have been affected by bullying. She hosts motivational talks as part of her body confidence workshops speaking to women with low self esteem. Kat has also been approached by strangers and peers asking for advice. People thank her for inspiring them, some are looking for support or advice, while others want her help to find clothes to suit their body shape and size.
Kat Henry proves that overcoming bullying is a possibility and not even the sky is the limit for this lady. She said: “My main concern now is just being healthy and happy, I want to keep my curves though. I’m happier now as a size 18 than I ever was when I was a size 12.
“I’m not in a huge rush to lose any more weight that may come with time, I am working to improve my fitness as I’m training to be a fitness instructor now to inspire other women people to engage in exercise at any size.”
The ChildLine helpline is free for children being bullied. They can be contacted on 0800 1111 or visit their website: www.childline.org.uk
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