A BEAUTY queen claims she has been targeted by jealous bullies after becoming the victim of an internet hate campaign.
Kelly Waite spoke out after being subjected to a tirade of abuse on social networking site facebook in the hope that other victims of bullying seek support.
The 27-year-old has won various beauty pageants in the last two years and was crowned Miss United Kingdom Tourism 2011 in December.
She said the majority of people are supporting her and wishing her all the best for her success.
But she added a small minority of “jealous girls” have been using facebook to direct abuse towards her.
Kelly said: “I just want to be an inspiration to other people out there who feel like giving up and who are being bullied as people think being a beauty queen is all glamorous.
“I have nearly 5,000 followers and 4,000 fans on my fan pages and one per cent of people, normally bitchy girls you would find in a playground, are not supportive at all.
“Others might think it is harassment and online bullying, but I report them to facebook and block them.
“I think it’s totally wrong that people can do that, but I’m in a position where I can stand up to it.
“There could be a shy person that this is happening to who daren’t tell anybody about it.
“I’m hoping if they see my story it will help them and give them the strength to deal with it.
“A lot of people commit suicide over internet bullying, some choose to ignore it and hope it goes away, but the bullies do it more.”
Kelly, from Trimdon, has previously appeared in the Mail and described how she was a shy youngster, having had tough experiences in life after she was born four months prematurely, weighing less than 2lb.
But she says in recent years, she has found a new strength not to let people’s negative comments get to her.
She added: “If this had happened two years ago, I would go home and cry over it.
“But now I am very strong-willed and opinionated.
“The problem lies with them, not me.
“Anyone of any age, race, gender, or appearance can be the victim of bullying and the internet is the number one place for cowards to target people as they don’t even have to reveal their true identity.”
Kelly is heading to Cincinnati, Ohio, in America in November to compete for the title of Miss International Tourism 2011 alongside girls from around the world.
She has been touring the UK doing press interviews and special appearances and is set to make an appearance on a new ghost-hunting radio show on North East-based Dead Air 102.5FM next month at a secret haunted location.
A facebook spokesman said: “facebook provides a number of tools to help people manage content across fan pages.
“Posts can be removed and if necessary, individuals can be blocked from posting on a fan page wall.
“facebook’s reporting tools are accessible across every item of content on the site, from pictures to profiles.”
Victims of bullying are urged to get help by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk.