Miss England finalist defiantly shows self-harm scars from mental illness battle

A beauty queen with a history of self-harming is showing her scars with pride after ­reaching the finals of Miss England.

At 14, Lucy Krogdahl was an insecure girl who felt she was a failure.

She started hurting herself before developing problems with food.

Inspired by unrealistic pictures on Instagram , she was hitting the gym three times a day and nibbling salad leaves.

But those days are gone and Lucy, now a confident 19-year-old, is in the Miss England finals this week after ­being crowned Miss Lincoln.

She is putting her title to good use by raising money for charity and giving talks in schools about ­mental illness.

And she has found the inner strength to show off her scars during the swimsuit round at the pageant on Wednesday.

Lucy said: “I want other young women to see that you can get through the worst, that it is ­possible. I almost backed out of the swimsuit round of Miss England because I was so concerned about my scars.

“Then I started to think, ‘They are part of me and I shouldn’t hide that.’

“I don’t have anything to be ashamed of and I hope I can give that message to others if I win the title. I want people to be inspired by my story.”

Lucy, of Little Chalfont, Bucks, is studying biomedical science at the University of Lincoln and wants to join the RAF as a medic.

She left school with 11 A grade GCSEs and three A-levels. At university she is on course for a first class honours degree.

But it is this quest for perfection that left Lucy emotionally struggling aged 14.

She recalled: “I didn’t want to fail or let anyone down.

“I’ve always been a bit of a control freak but it got worse. I was ­worrying all the time. I stressed around exams.”

It wasn’t long before Lucy started self-harming, leaving scars on her right thigh. But things got worse when she started to measure herself against ­women she saw on social media.

She said: “I was following fitness ­influencers and celebrities, especially ones who got great bodies by working out. They all looked perfect, like they led the ideal life.

“In contrast I’d always been athletic looking so I started to eat less. I’d live off salad and fruit and was working out three or four times a day because I felt the need to stay fit and slim.

“I’m a dancer too, so was regularly taking part in competitions as well. The weight just fell off.”

By the time Lucy was 15 she had dropped from a healthy nine stone to a sickly seven and a half.

“I put myself under this massive strain to be all-round perfect,” she said.

“But I couldn’t keep going at that rate. I felt hopeless, like I was never good enough, like my life would never be perfect.

“I wanted to be the best at everything. Looking back I was doing really well but I just couldn’t see it.”

Lucy’s mum Lorna, 45, and stepdad Mick, 59, were approached by someone who told them Lucy was self-harming as well as extreme dieting.

She was referred to the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and saw a counsellor at school.

Within a year she stopped hurting herself and has covered up the worst of her scars with an ornate tattoo featuring a bee, lavender and peony.

She said: “I’m not embarrassed by my scars but I thought it might be nice to have a lovely tattoo over them.

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