After being bullied in school for being “fat,” Alisha Cowie was catapulted into a downward spiral that left her anorexic and severely struggling with her mental health.
But 33-year-old Cowie — who said she was harassed so severely that she starved herself until she weighed just 84 pounds — is now having the last laugh.
As the UK’s most successful beauty queen.
“I was bullied for being ‘fat’ at 5 years old,” Cowie, from County Durham, told South West News Service. “It continued until I became 6 stone [84 pounds] at 13, and then I was bullied for being too skinny.
“I was at 300 calories a day, and the bullying definitely made my anorexia worse,” she said.
The model — who is also a professional photographer — was crowned Miss International UK this year after winning Miss England in 2018.
However, she hasn’t forgotten her difficult journey to get there.
She recalled that the bullying “got so bad the school had to consider my safety, which meant I went to school 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and sat in a separate room on my own to do my lessons.
“I had hot drinks poured over me in Year 7,” Cowie shockingly revealed. “It then continued to the point I had stones thrown at me on my way home from school.”
Cowie, who said her family struggled financially when she was younger, admitted she always wanted to be a model — but never thought her dream would come true.
“To be actually doing it full-time, I’m really happy and now I feel pretty lucky,” she gushed.
“As far as I’m aware, there’s nobody in recent history to win both Miss England and Miss International,” she said excitedly, adding she never thought she’d come out on top.
“I never like to assume anything,” the beauty queen confessed. “But I made myself proud. I raised a lot for charity. My main aim was to raise money for charity.”
Cowie has raised $1,675 for A Sisterhood, a UK-based organization that seeks to “empower, support and protect women worldwide.”
“I lost my friend to suicide in 2013, so that’s something that I’m passionate about,” she explained.
Although she admits the nerves kicked in during the pageants, Cowie was thrilled with the results — despite being in “pure disbelief” that she won.
“I was just so pleased that I was able to perform well on the day,” she gushed. “There’s a lot of stress and time that goes into pageants. Winning is just the cherry on top.
“It was just nice that the charity work and the effort that I put into the competition was recognized,” she added.
Holly Pirrie, director of Miss International UK, described Cowie as an “incredible representative” for the UK at Miss International.
“I am thrilled for Alisha, and she truly deserved to win,” Pirrie said. “The fundraising and volunteer work that Alisha has completed is truly outstanding.
“She is the definition of beauty, inside and out.”