Angel Queenan is Meath's entry for Miss Bikini Irelad 2019

‘This is Angel and you are through to Heaven...’

An Ashbourne beauty therapist who is competing in Miss Bikini Ireland says the bullying hell she suffered as a child destroyed her confidence and nearly stopped her from following her dream of being a model.

Inspirational Angel Queenan (21) was born six weeks premature weighing just 3lb 12 ounces and spent the first few weeks of her life fighting to survive in an intensive care unit where she could only be fed through tubes.

 In a heartbreaking twist of fate Angel’s mum, Sabrina, developed a severe case of Toxemia, a rare life-threatening condition that occurs as a result of high blood pressure post-childbirth and both mum and baby were separated and fighting for life.

Angel and her mum made a full recovery but as she admits throughout her life she “always had to play catch up.”

Angel spent the first few weeks of her life in ICU 

“For the first few weeks of my life, I was in an incubator in the ICU with wires connected to me everywhere and could only be fed 1/2 oz every hour. My mam was also very ill after the birth and wasn’t able to see me and that’s sort of how my name came about. I was so sick and she was so weak the nurses were keeping my mam updated on how I was. The nurses were saying, oh your little angel is getting on well, your little angel is progressing and it kind of just stuck then.”

“I always dreamed of being a model from a young age even though I was very body-conscious growing up but I never thought I would have the confidence to do it. I’ve always had small and dainty features because I was born prematurely. I’ve always felt uncomfortable in clothes and found it hard to get clothes to fit my figure, I still shop in the kid’s section now.

“As a young teenager people always commented on how skinny I was and it very upsetting and affected me a lot in my teenage years. At school, I didn’t have a shred of confidence and in the end, I just accepted that as part of school life. I’d come home and just cry my eyes out and dread the next day. Even parents of my friends would comment on my weight and it had a huge effect on me throughout secondary school.

The Ashbourne beauty therapist says her body confidence has grown since being involved with the competition 

“Telling someone they are so skinny is just as bad telling someone they are so fat, people don’t realise that. When you are already conscious of being skinny and people point it out to you it can be soul-destroying. Even on the day of my debs, I found a dress that I really loved and I thought that I looked lovely but it was short-lived when one of my friend’s parents made a comment saying I was far too skinny for the dress I was wearing. I was just devastated and it tainted the whole night for me.

“It wasn’t until my late teens that I developed a fuller figure and I slowly started to gain confidence. I’m still working on putting all of the nasty comments behind. People should be more aware of the comments that they make to young people as it can have a lasting effect on them for years to come.”

Angel says that not being required to have the conventional attributes of a stereotypical model is why she was drawn to enter the competition. 

“I first heard of Miss Bikini Ireland about three years ago but I just felt like I wasn’t ready to enter but I always had it in the back of my mind. I didn’t have enough confidence but I felt this year was the year for me. I started caring less about what people thought I now understand the problem lies with them and not me.

“Miss Bikini Ireland has helped me overcome that bad chapter from my past. I feel that it is such an amazing competition because they accept all different shapes and sizes and there is no height restriction. You can have tattoos, scars, piercings you don’t have to be perfect.

Angel was taunted for being 'too skinny' as a teenager 

“It’s not about people looking at you in a bikini it’s about you feeling confident in yourself and having the confidence to be in a bikini.”

Heaven will be missing an Angel if she wins the competition, ‘Heaven’ being the beauty salon where she works in Ashbourne of course. 

“My name definitely always ends up being a talking point, particularly when I answer the phone to clients and say, ‘this is Angel and you are through to Heaven! I have to tell them to go past the undertakers next store and look for the sign for Heaven.”

The Ashbourne native has a busy schedule also appearing in a new RTE dating show ‘Pulling with My Parents’ that’s starting soon.

“A producer that saw that I was involved with Miss Bikini Ireland got in contact with me and asked if I wanted to be on the series. Each episode focuses on a couple of different daters whose parents are helping them to look for love and I was one of their dates. We went bowling, it was a bit of craic it was an ice breaker that we were doing something fun. I was delighted that I did it.

Angel credits support from family as to how she managed to overcome her struggles. 

“Both my parents support me in everything that I do. My mam has pushed me from a young age to believe in myself.

The Ashbourne beauty queen is in the running to win an all-expenses-paid nine-day trip to the world finals of Swimsuit USA International

“She’s my number one supporter along with my nanny Marie Wall in Duleek or ‘little nanny’ as I call her.

“I’ve learned so much about myself in the short amount of time that I have been doing this. It’s taught me discipline and has challenged and pushed me to work harder if want to achieve my goals.”

The Ashbourne beauty queen is in the running to win an all-expenses-paid nine-day trip to the world finals of Swimsuit USA International where the winner will go on to represent Ireland with the chance of winning a prize worth $80,000.

The Final of Miss Bikini Ireland takes place this Sunday 20th October in the Red Cow Inn in Dublin.

To help Angel win the online voting part of the competition that would see her go straight into the top five like ad share her profile here