A WOMAN teased at school for being 'fat and ugly' has beaten the bullies to become a Miss England beauty queen.
Dalia Cromwell, 24, was picked on as a youngster due to her size by cruel classmates who would whistle the McDonald's theme as she walked past.
They would also make 'rumbling earthquake' sounds as she went to classes and she resorted to eating lunch in the school toilets after ballooning to 15 stone.
Despite low self-esteem Dalia bounced back after creating an alter-ego called ‘The Extra girl' on social media and she went on to lose four stone.
She began wearing brightly coloured suits and fur jackets and her new extravagant outlook on life quickly made her a huge hit on TikTok.
Dalia has since found internet fame as an influencer where her videos have received over 150 million views, 89 million likes and gained her 1.4 million followers.
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And she is also now in the running to be crowned the next Miss England after reaching the semi-finals as part of the competition's virtual heats.
Dalia came to the country in the search of a better life at the age of five not speaking any English after being born in Holland to Iraqi parents.
And despite her tough school years, she says she is still proud of the life she has made for herself in Britain and would be honoured to be Miss England.
Dalia now lives in Kensington, South London, and also works in digital marketing after graduating from Bournemouth University with a marketing degree.
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She said: "I came to England when I was a little girl and although I'm extremely grateful for the opportunities I've had here my school years proved a battle.
"The bullying started when I was around 13. It was awful really. I was overweight.
I felt my bullying happened for a reason, so I could help others but in my own way. I've lost four stone but I'm still proud of my curvier figure.
"People would whistle the McDonald's theme tune when I walked past.
"They would also make rumbling sounds like an earthquake. People would call me fat and ugly. There was physical bullying too.
"I felt like giving up at times but I've just always tried to be a positive person who is kind to everyone and I thought I'm not letting these people keep me down.
"I'm a believer that what you're like inside makes you more beautiful on the outside and I ended up not caring and creating this sort of alter ego 'The Extra Girl'.
"I found it synonymous with the word extraordinary and I was finally being the person I always dreamed of.
"I started wearing coloured suits and fur jackets to school and just being a bit more extroverted in general and overtly confident.
"My idea was that if I created this most extravagant version of myself, what can anyone say? It was empowering.
"Suddenly younger people thought this was great and I became a beacon of hope for many who were struggling with bullying, which I've taken into my influencer work.
"I felt my bullying happened for a reason, so I could help others but in my own way. I've lost four stone but I'm still proud of my curvier figure.
"If I were not bullied, I would have never grown in my headspace. I try to consider it a blessing in disguise."
Dalia began posting videos on the social media platform and soon created her own signature style offering advice on a whole manner of lifestyle topics.
She added: "My first video was with a homeless man and the purpose of the video was to show you should not judge others..
"Social media is deemed to be a negative place but I think it's a positive one which can spread positivity and education.
"I use the platform to show the internet can be a force for good and then suddenly people seemed to want to watch me.
"One video of myself sat in the back of my sister's convertible car talking about how I wanted to be independent and focus on myself suddenly went viral.
"I think I was having some boy trouble at the time. All of a sudden it took off and I'm by no means Kim Kardashian but sometimes I get recognised when I'm out.
"I began earning decent money from it but I didn't want to monetise what I was doing so I've been turning down deals since.
"I'm just an ordinary girl that has genuinely impacted people.
"Each video is specific to a mindset problem regarding friendships, breakups and self-confidence. I've always wanted to influence my whole life but with a purpose.
The bullying started when I was around 13. It was awful really. I was overweight. People would whistle the McDonald's theme tune when I walked past.
"I wanted people to change their perspective on life issues which we all experience.
"Many young people message me saying thank you for helping me and that is truly the reason I carry on.
"I'd like to continue my efforts by using my TikTok platform for charity work and using the voice and influence I have for the young generation of today."
Dalia will now compete in her first ever beauty pageant when she takes to the catwalk at the Miss England semi-finals in Blackpool in October.
She added: "Despite what happened to me when I was younger I'm still really proud and privileged to have the opportunities in Britain.
"To represent the country as Miss England would be a dream come true.
"I was so happy to come to England and have opportunities I've had here, I couldn't be more grateful.
"England has given me the chance to grow and excel here so representing the nation would be an honorary title.
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"I got a chance to live and be raised here and made the most of it. No matter how hard life was I stayed empathetic and kind in my personal life and online.
"This is my first ever beauty pageant. I'm very excited for it. I love how Miss England is a diverse competition featuring women from every walk of life."
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