The winner of 'Miss Swimsuit UK' is preparing to represent East Lancashire at the world finals for 'Miss USA' later this year.

Twenty eight-year-old Natalie Lauren of Oswaldtwistle was crowned 'Miss Swimsuit UK' on July 23, after competing against women from across the country.

Her first prize included an all expenses paid holiday to Mexico to compete in the world finals where she will be representing Great Britain.

The women’s fashion brand, Miss Swimsuit, is a glitzy and glamorous swimsuit store that runs their competition annually.

Lancashire Telegraph: Natalie Lauren with last year Miss Swimsuit UK winner, AlissaNatalie Lauren with last year Miss Swimsuit UK winner, Alissa

From the small town of Oswaldtwistle to being recognised nationally, Natalie shared how much this award and opportunity means to her.

She said: “I’ve dropped out of so many things in the past because of confidence issues so I just went for it with this and it paid off.

“When they announced the winner – I literally can’t even explain the feeling. I was so nervous and I wasn’t expecting to win, it’s one thing to take part but to actually win. I was so speechless. It was magical, I am so thankful.

“It’s a reassuring thing as well, to be noticed for me and who I am and not just for my looks is a nice feeling really.”

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Natalie said the competition is highly demanding and the women who enter go through intense processes to stay healthy and mentally prepared.

Despite the nature of the competition being that women are competing against each other, Natalie shared how the relationship with the other girls is built on caring friendship.

She added: “We have a group chat where we can just share our thoughts in there, if we needed any advice or reassurance we could just go to each other. It’s really like a sisterhood and we couldn’t do it without each other.”

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Natalie’s resilience comes from the knockbacks and rejections she’s had in the past, and as a young teen, she was bullied which left her with low self-esteem and confidence.

The 2022 Miss Swimsuit UK winner also entered into Miss Lancashire a few years ago but dropped out because “I was too overwhelmed at the time and had a lot of self-doubt”.

However, Natalie was able to use these rejections to push her closer to her dreams and she’s passionate about inspiring others to do the same – whatever those dreams may be.

She added: “You just have to go for it. Even if you’re feeling down about yourself because you’re your own worst enemy you just have to ignore yourself.

Lancashire Telegraph: Natalie LaurenNatalie Lauren

“I had to push myself out my comfort zone to enter this and if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have achieved my own aspirations. If you just be yourself, the confidence will grow.

“No one's confident in themselves to begin with, but it will come with time. If you look after yourself mentally and keep telling yourself everything will be okay you’ll never regret pushing yourself to do the best for yourself.”

Raising awareness for mental health issues and wellbeing is an important part of Natalie’s work and Miss Swimsuit UK has raised money for a charity called Get Fit 4 Mental Wellness each year.

Lancashire Telegraph: Natalie on a hikeNatalie on a hike

Natalie is aware of the issues that arise from lack of self confidence, particularly from social media.

Speaking on how she avoids comparing herself to others, she said: “It is really hard especially with girls having phones from a young age and people getting surgery."

And she emphasised that even she doesn’t wake up in the mornings looking “competition ready” so it’s important to show both sides of herself – the natural side and the glamorous side.

She continued: “You just have to remind yourself that it’s not real and make sure you’re aware that everyone is normal, every single body is normal and despite what social media shows you, there’s no set way to look.”

The down to earth 28-year-old from Oswaldtwistle is currently preparing to enter the finals of Miss Swimsuit USA in Mexico from October 17 to 23.