A Shirebrook mum who is living with Crohn's disease is set to defy expectations as she takes part in Miss Swimwear UK.
Melissa Mikosz, 28, of Church Drive, was diagnosed with the disease in January this year after initially ignoring signs that her stomach was starting to swell.
She had initially feared after being touted for the competition that she would not be able to compete due to her stomach intermittently swelling, worrying that it "could swell for the competition".
However, the Shirebrook mum who loves horse riding, had previously suffered "confidence problems" after a previous bad relationship and decided to "not let the illness keep me down" -going for the glory.
She runs an Instagram account where she posts images of her and son Kai, and was spotted by an agent who runs the competition - and she decided to go for it.
She said: "I'd feared because of my stomach problems and the disease that I might not be able to compete - it swells up randomly and I thought it could swell up again.
"In the past I've suffered relationship problems which really knocked my confidence, but recently I got my boobs and my teeth done to make myself feel better.
"I had previously been asked to do competitions like this when I was younger but I never went for it, but when I was approached through Instagram I thought 'why not?'.
"I think the competitions are all about empowering women and it doesn't matter who you are, how old you are or where you come from, we all work together to empower more women to do the same.
"It would mean the world to me to win the competition and to represent the area."
Melissa will compete in the Miss Swimwear UK finals in Birmingham on June 1, and if successful will represent the UK in competitions across the world.