A BEAUTY queen, who entered her first competition one year ago, is using her title to spread positive messages and boost women's self-confidence.

Rebecca Everson, from Darlington, entered the Ms Galaxy pageant in the over 30s category last year, in a bid to show others that beauty is more than age, size or looks.

She was first crowned Ms Darlington Galaxy in 2018 and in March, on International Women's Day, scooped the national title of Ms Galaxy UK.

In August, the sales and marketing specialist flew to Orlando where she was crowned Ms Galaxy Europe and will jet off to Chicago in 2020 to compete for the international title.

During her Ms Galaxy reign, Ms Everson has thrown herself into charity work for local causes such as Teesside Hospice, Daisy Chain, Zoe's Place, Newcastle United Foundation, Help For Heroes and First Stop.

The Northern Echo:

The beauty queen gave up her Christmas last year to volunteer with homeless charities and intends to do the same this year.

She also took part in this year's CEO Sleepout in Darlington and has travelled over 4,000 miles to take part in charity work.

Ms Everson said the fundraising element of the pageant gave her the opportunity to become more involved with issues in her local area.

She said: "Competing in this pageant has given me so much as a person and given me so much to get involved in.

"It’s opened up my eyes to a whole different world and how I can help more people because of it.

"I would have never known the realities for some people without taking part and working with charities in the area."

Ms Everson, who has now raised over £70,000 for 14 charities, added that she first entered the pageants to boost her confidence.

The Northern Echo:

She said: "I didn’t really know about beauty pageants when I signed up last year.

"People have a bad perception of it and think you just walk on stage, look a certain way and win the title. There’s a lot of ideas about being a certain size, being a certain height but that's not it at all.

"A lot of girls suffer from this mentality at the moment and it knocks their self esteem. Entering a beauty pageant has really boosted mine and shown that you can be beautiful by just being yourself.

"I want to keep spreading that message to others. I want girls to know that beauty pageants aren’t about being skinny, beautiful and popular, it’s about being you."

Ms Everson is sponsored by a number of businesses such as main sponsor Leggs in Darlington, Rejoy Beauty, House of Zana, Betty's Boutique and BMW Cooper Durham.

The Northern Echo:

Ann Coxon, of Leggs, said: “We are so proud of Rebecca. Especially how hard she works with various charities and we are happy to be on the journey supporting her and dressing her.

"It is so amazing to see a local girl do so well in what she has. She has achieved so much in the last year. We thank her for choosing us as her sponsor.”