Miss Nottingham Curve hopes to raise awareness about cervical cancer
A plus-size beauty pageant finalist is hoping to use her story to spread a serious message about women’s health.
Nicola Barker-Lane, who holds the title of Miss Nottingham Curve 2019, is a finalist in Miss British Beauty Curve pageant.
Nicola, 26, who currently lives in Castle Donington, but has family in Newark and a home near Farndon Marina, has a very personal reason for wanting to use her pageant success to help other women.
“I hope to encourage body positivity and self-love and, most importantly, raise awareness for cervical cancer and cell abnormality,” she said.
Nicola has been affected by cervical health, including having pre-cancerous cells, and has been diagnosed with endometriosis, a life-long condition.
“I am passionate and determined to educate women and raise as much awareness as possible in women to understand why it is important to go to their smear test invitations and to understand any changes, as it could save a life.”
Nicola, who is a size 16, said being classed as plus size had its challenges, but her pageant experience had helped her overcome negative public perception.
“Being body positive and showing how important it is to love who we are in our skin is important for a healthy mind,” she said.
“But it is also important to show vulnerable people, teenagers and children that being different, plus size, or standing out isn’t a negative, and everyone should embrace who they are and what they stand for.
“I am trying to reach as many people as I can to spread the message about self-love, body positivity and women’s health.”
Nicola danced for 15 years before being forced to give it up through injury. She works as a medical administrator for a cosmetic surgery company, and is also a make-up artist.
She said she ate a healthy diet and worked out several times a week, but illness means she is limited in what she can do.
“I have battled my fair share of fights and continue to do so,” she said. “I am as healthy as I can be for what I am going through right now. I am on my own journey to body positivity.”
She said embarrassment sometimes stopped women from taking a smear test but urged them not to ignore their invitations.
“I would say, if you can go for a bikini wax, then you can go for a smear test,” she said.
Body consciousness was also an issue, Nicola said.
“I have friends who are bigger than me who have been to the doctor and told everything boils down to losing weight.
“Don’t let your body stop you from getting your smear test done,” she said. “It takes five minutes.”
Nicola will compete in the Miss British Beauty Curve pageant in Kent in August.
The pageant organisers aim to encourage young women of different shapes and sizes and from all walks of life to take part, to show the diversity of shapes and sizes in the country.
There are three categories, open to women who are aged 18 or over and a dress size 14 or above.