Rebecca with her array of beauty queen titles
A local teenager has made her beauty queen dreams come true - with a little help from the Derry News.
Rebecca Keys, 17, entered the Miss Shining Light beauty pageant last year and was tasked to make her own outfit for the 'fun fashion' round.
Keen to do something with a local twist she hit on the idea of making a dress out of copies of the Derry News.
With the help of her mum, Sharon, she created a high fashion look with a fitted bodice and layered skirt made entirely out of newspapers.
The creative look caught the eye of the judges at the final last September when she was crowned Miss Teen Shining Light 2019.
Rebecca, who is currently studying health and social care at the North West Regional College, went on to qualify for the Pure International competition in England last month where she won the title of Miss Pure Ireland.
She is now preparing to jet off to the international final in Ohio later this year.
Despite having a background in gymnastics and dance, Rebecca struggled with shyness before becoming involved with pageants.
"I've really loved being involved with Miss Shinging Light and it really boosted my confidence," she said.
"Before that, when I was at the tech or dance class, I was shy, but now I have people coming up to me congratulating me and asking me questions and I love talking to them."
Rebecca is now a rising social media star with over 2,200 followers on Instagram.
"People will come up and say 'I follow you on Instagram' and they want to know how to get into beauty pageants.
"There's this idea that you have to be six feet tall and size two, but that's not true.
"It doesn't matter about your size or shape."
She has also made lots of new friends in the beauty pageant world and is excited about what the future holds.
"People are so friendly and so nice at the pageants.
"When we went Warrington for the Miss Pure competition people knew it was our first time at a national competition and they were so nice."
And despite now owning an impressive array of evening wear, Rebecca says her Derry News dress will always have a special place in her heart.
"It's one of my favourites," she smiled.
"I felt like Tinkerbell in it."
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