A mum got one-up on fat-shaming trolls by becoming a curvy model.
Megan Byrne got into modelling as a teenager – but feared her catwalk career would be over when she fell pregnant with her son Frankie.
The 22-year-old’s size 0 body dramatically changed as she put on nine stone.
In two years, she was 14 stone and started wearing size 16 clothes.
Megan thought she’d given up her time in front of the camera when she decided to train as a hairdresser.
But her life changed again when she was persuaded to take part in a plus-sized beauty pageant by a friend.
Megan, from Wrexham, said: “I struggled for a long time in high school with my weight.
“I was in and out of hospital because I was always trying to be skinnier and I was starving myself and I really wasn’t in a good way.
“I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t really looking after myself – I was just trying to be skinny.
“Looking back now, I’m like ‘what the hell were you thinking?'”
It was a big adjustment for the young woman when her body changed during pregnancy.
She continued: “When I was pregnant, I thought it would be alright and I would drop the baby weight once I’ve given birth but it doesn’t work like that.
“I was in quite a dark place to be honest after I had the baby. I started losing weight and then I’d put it back on.
“I would try fad diets and nothing was working because I was so unhappy with my shape.
“When I was skinny and I still wanted to be skinnier, so when I put more weight on it was a bit of a kick.
“I didn’t accept it but I was like ‘right’ this is what I’m going to be now, I look ugly, no one is going to love me, I’m disgusting because I look this way.
“I had it in my head ‘you’re this size, you’re not pretty, no one wants you.”
Megan overcame these insecurities when she entered Miss Miss Voluptuous Wales earlier this month – and she was crowned the winner!
She is now competing for a chance to win the Miss World category, which has given her bags of confidence.
The pageant queen said: “As I’ve been trying to break into the modelling world, it’s been very difficult.
“When I was younger I practically starved myself to reach the size zero I thought was necessary to make it on the catwalk.
“Ironically, since putting weight on my modelling career is really taking off and I’m determined to use my role to promote a positive body image for women.”
Despite her success, Megan says she is regularly plagued by keyboard warriors on social media.
But determined not to let bullies hold her back, she’s using her new-found fame to campaign for body positivity.
She said: “I have been called a ‘whale’ a ‘fat pig’ and told I should be ashamed of promoting being fat.
“It’s relentless but I have so much support from family and friends I don’t let it bother me.
“The average woman in the UK is size 12 to 16, so I am the ‘average’ size of a woman.”
She continued: “I get posts weekly on my Facebook page and in my messages on Instagram that I should be ashamed of myself because of my weight.
“It can be pretty upsetting to read these things sometimes but I know I can’t let them win.”
Megan, who lives with Frankie’s dad Caleb Punford, 22, a joiner, is about to start filming a new TV series called The Fashion hero in South Africa that champions non-stereotypical models.
She added: “The show is for people who wouldn’t usually be given a second look in a typical modelling agency because of their weight and size.
“The message isn’t just about excepting plus size bodies, it’s about excepting all body types, it has contestant from size four to size 34. They should all be appreciated.
“I am a plus size woman from Wrexham using my pageant title and influence and now my potential place in this show to show people that you don’t need to fit into the social expectation of body size to be ‘beautiful’ and I am doing what I can to spread this message of body appreciation and empowerment.”