Woman called ginger minger at school gets last laugh – by turning bikini model

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    A tattooed swimsuit model who was cruelly bullied in school revealed how she's managed to shake off trolls.

    Carmen Rouse, 31, if often seen flaunting her toned body in bikinis and gallivanting around at glitzy events.

    And as a new model, the red-haired beauty even managed to land herself a finalist spot in Miss Swimsuit UK 2023.

    READ MORE: 'I quit bodybuilding and transformed – trolls say I let myself go but I don't care'

    Despite having the confidence to pose in teeny swimwear on the runway and in front of the camera, Carmen wasn't always comfortable in her own skin.

    The beauty, from Wales, was horrifically bullied in school for being ginger and a bit of a 'tomboy'.

    Carmen was part of the cadets, wasn't interested in makeup nor modelling for that matter.

    But, after getting fed up of being picked on, she bleached her hair and transformed who she was.

    Dramatically changing her appearance was not enough to steer the bullies away though – and it didn't do much for her confidence either.

    "I started getting into fitness first because I was quite a chubby child and I was ginger," Carmen candidly revealed in an exclusive interview with Daily Star.

    "So they used to call me a sack of carrots instead of a sack of spuds… it was awful.

    “So I thought, you know what? I'm gonna go to the gym, I'm gonna lose loads of weight and I went bleach blonde at the time in the summer holidays.

    “Then I went back to school as a completely new person and I still got bullied for a little bit."

    It wasn't until this year that Carmen fully embraced her true self – and she's even gone back to her red tresses.

    After the tragic passing of her partner last year, Carmen realised life is short.

    She started ignoring the haters and entered a national modelling competition.

    "I've never been a very confident girl, with who I am as a person and how I look," the model explained.

    "Miss Swimsuit UK came along years and years later, which is only this year I was part of the finals.

    “So I was petrified and I’ve obviously got in the back of my mind that 'people are going to be targeting you, pointing out negatives about your body and that they’ll find something bad to say about your body'.

    “But it was the girls there that brought my out of my shell. The girls were competing but were there for each other, there’s loads of different shapes and sizes, different hair colours, personalities.

    “Everyone had each others backs, we pushed each other to get our confidence.

    “So as soon as I walked out on the stage something just switched, I was just much more confident.

    “And now [negative] comments don’t bother me any more."

    Even though Carmen has grown a thicker skin and has surrounded herself with supportive women, she's still being trolled in her 30s.

    She featured on a Boohoo Man online dating show that saw her receive flack regarding her appearance in the social media comment sections.

    However, she's better equipped at dealing with the cruelty now.

    "I went onto Boohoo Man dating show and probably just got completely targeted with over a thousand comments saying that I look like a character from SpongeBob SquarePants, my teeth look messed up, my face looks messed up, I’ve had too much work done," Carmen bravely said.

    "It was just so many horrible comments. And that did set me back because that was actually during the Miss Swimsuit journey.

    "Halfway through the Miss Swimsuit journey it did knock me back a little bit and I thought 'do I actually look this horrible in real life?'

    “Luckily, my friends and all the girls came together and told me not to listen to them they are just trolls.

    “So now I’ve learnt to let it go in one ear and out the other."

    Carmen now boasts 18,000 Instagram followers and is represented by an agency – so she's often invited to many celeb filled events.

    From the bullied little girl to the 20-something that shied away from new opportunities, Carmen is flourishing with her newfound confidence. And she's only just getting started.

    “With walking around in a bikini all day, you're embracing your figure and I just came out of my shell," she expressed.

    “Then ever since then I've built this confidence and I realised to embrace it.

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    "You're only young for a certain amount of time.

    "So I thought I'm just gonna embrace my body until I get old.

    "I still get called 'ginger minger' today and I've still got red hair and I'm not changing it.

    "I went bleach blonde to hide away from the ginger but I thought, I'm a redhead at heart, it's gonna stay around.

    "I think the younger me would probably look at me and think, 'fair play'.

    "I didn't see myself in this situation today, I've changed so much."

    You can find Carmen on Instagram, here.

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