Ponteland's India Fenwick is first to challenge for Miss England title with a prosthetic eye

Julia Barthram met up with India Fenwick before the Miss England finals.

When India Fenwick steps out in front of the Miss England judges, she will be the first to do so wearing a prosthetic eye.

Ms Fenwick was born with the rare eye condition micropthalmia, which means her left eye is 25% smaller than her right and fully blind.

India Fenwick has micropthalmia, a condition affecting one in 10,000 children. Credit: India Fenwick

She underwent two operations as a baby but was a happy, confident child and the condition had little affect on her life until she went to secondary school.

"The first day of high school was the first day I realised there was something wrong with me" she said.

She continued: "A very nasty comment was shouted in the bus park and that night I ran home and couldn't stop crying.

"I looked at myself in the mirror and for the very first time felt complete self hatred and anger towards myself."

Ms Fenwick suffered bullying leading to depression and self harm.

It was on the first day of sixth form that she decided to try wearing a prosthetic eye.

During the covid lockdown she used art and journaling to start rebuilding her confidence.

India created colourful artwork to help her come to terms with her condition Credit: India Fenwick

Now 21, she has stopped taking her anti depressant medication, passed her driving test and reached the Miss England finals.

She added: "I never thought I'd ever do a pageant, it has really really helped my confidence to grow.

"My eye is something different but that's not a bad thing. Different is never bad it's just different.

"I do like to call it my superpower now because it's given me the platform and the life experience to be able to talk about something and to be able to make a stand and help other people."

Ms Fenwick was thrilled to reach the Miss England finals and hopes to be a positive representation of what it's like to have an eye condition.

"It's incredible to be able to represent all different children and young people who are suffering with a birth defect condition." she said.

"I didn't feel there was any media representation of anyone with an eye condition when I was growing up and it was quite lonely at times.

"I would really love to be able to help other children and give out tips and tricks and show them different ways to adapt to their eye condition."

India will compete at the Miss England finals in Birmingham Credit: India Fenwick

As well as appearing in Miss England, she is setting up her own blog to offer advice and support and sells her artwork to raise money for eyesight charities.

She added: "Even just helping one child or one parent to feel confident in knowing that everything will work out okay, that really would be amazing for me".

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