Doncaster woman who won place in final of Miss Swimsuit UK pageant shares her experiences of online abuse
A beauty pageant star wants to share her experiences of online abuse with young girls in Doncaster schools to show them how to deal with negative trolling.
Katie Mackinnon, aged 24, from Thorne, is a model and dancer who has competed in beauty pageants such as Miss Great Britain.
She recently became second runner up in the Manchester heat of Miss Swimsuit UK - she will compete in the national competition this September.
She said: “I accidentally fell into beauty pageants - you always think they're going to be like Miss Congeniality and that you have to be very prim and proper.
“But Miss Swimsuit has not been like that at all.
“All the girls have a laugh and it’s felt very empowering to be a part of.
“We’ve all been helping each other out and it’s felt very different from other pageants I have taken part in.”
But the world of beauty pageants and social media can be hard to navigate and Katie has not always found it easy.
She has over 14,000 followers on Instagram and the attention found there is sometimes negative.
She said: “I’ve experienced a lot of trolling, it’s usually from girls who are 13 to 16-years-old or older women.
“When I first started on Instagram I read the comments and sat in my bedroom and cried.
“But I had to realise that those people behind their computers were not happy with their lives.
“I grew a thick skin and started to block people who left negative comments.”
Katie wants to use her platform on social media to help younger girls who are experiencing trolling to get through it.
“I want to go into schools and share my experiences which will hopefully help kids navigate the world of social media,” she continued.
“Girls see models such as the Victoria Secret Angels and compare themselves to that.
“I myself have had times where I have wanted to airbrush away imperfections in photos but now I look at them and think I should share my stretch marks because they’re natural.”