Wales

Caerphilly burns survivor 'excited' to enter beauty pageant

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Media caption'I used to be scared of getting dressed up'

Putting on a skirt or a bikini was not an easy ask for Laura Masters, who has severe burns.

The carer from Caerphilly has had third-degree burns on her legs and waist since she was put into a boiling hot bath as a baby.

Despite spending years hiding her scars, now the 26-year-old is taking part in a beauty pageant for women who have disfigurement.

She wants to help other burns survivors improve their body confidence.

Image copyright BYB Photography
Image caption Laura is a contestant in Miss Unique Beauty UK pageant

When she was a teenager, Laura was picked on and called names for having scars.

But since leaving school, her confidence has shot up and she said she feels "excited" to wear bikinis, shorts and dresses without tights.

"I don't mind showing my lumps and bumps anymore," she said.

"I feel really excited. I used to be scared of getting dressed up or wearing swimsuits.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption She hopes the pictures of her scars on Instagram will help other women like her feel confident

"You have this image of stick-thin models and it is not what you should be - it is about being yourself," she said.

Ms Masters suffered from an eating disorder and thought weight would affect how her scars looked, when she was at school.

And trying to find the right dress was "hard" for her, because the burns formed scars which made her waist uneven.

All six women who are modelling in the Miss Unique Beauty UK pageant in Sheffield have burns, scars or disfigurement.

It is the first year the pageant has run. It was set up by burns survivor Rochelle Barrett, who tweeted that the models "show that disfigurement and visible differences are not to be feared, judged, or taboo".

Ms Masters wants to help other burns survivors too, to feel good in whatever they wear, by sharing pictures of her scars on Instagram.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Laura was burned in a bath when she was one year old

"Now I don't have to hide who I am or my scars," she said.

"The other girls I've met are so inspiring and helped my own journey," she added.

Until she was 18, Ms Masters hadn't dated or gone on a night out because her confidence was low.

But less than a decade since then, she loves getting dressed up for a night out, going on holiday with friends and heading to the beach to watch surfing.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Surfs up! Now Laura "doesn't feel the need" to hide her scars

She said: "People who have got disabilities are afraid to speak out, but it is so important - for your mental health too.

"It is amazing how much support is out there for people."

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