News I beat body-shaming bullies by becoming a beauty queen.
A woman who was terrified to go swimming because of cruel taunts about her body - has hit back by becoming a beauty queen.
Sarah Gustafson, 28, has always struggled with her weight and used to hide her frame with a towel whenever her and her friends would go to the swimming baths.
Sarah, who also suffers from Aspergers and autism, has struggled for many years with her body image, but over the past couple of years has embraced her fuller size 14-16 frame.
Now Sarah has been named as Miss Liverpool Curve 2019 and is on a mission to tell young girls you can be beautiful at any size.
Sarah, from Croxteth, said: "When I was younger I was overweight, partly down to my disabilities which made me impulsively eat food.
"I used to get bullied and my friends would have to shield me with a towel whenever we went swimming.
"I've had lots of problems in my life and suffered with severe depression, but I thought as I was approaching 30, I should try and get over some of my hang ups."
After attending another plus size beauty contest last year with a friend, Sarah decided to apply for Miss Curve and was handed the title for this year.
Sarah will now go on to compete in Miss British Beauty Curve 2019 national competition in Kent on August 24 and is hoping to bring the title back to Liverpool.
Sarah said: "Although I'm an average weight society and the media made me feel like I couldn't win a beauty contest.
"I have imperfections such as scars, stretch marks and I don't have a flat tummy, which a lot of people can relate to.
"My weight and body confidence in the past has definitely had a massive effect upon my mental health, but I'm slowly overcoming that.
"I want to challenge the perception that someone seen as disabled and overweight could still win a beauty contest."
Sarah is a qualified teacher, and is currently setting up her own business called AurTistic with the help of the Prince's Trust teaching children and adults all about mental health awareness through art.
She also regularly runs courses in colleges and schools about coping techniques for mental health.
Sarah Gustafson is Miss Liverpool Curve 2019