“Don’t ever let anyone dull your sparkle.”
That’s the motto of Buxton’s Summer Hogan.
The year 7 Wollondilly Anglican College student has turned her experience of being bullied into a passion for competing in pageants.
Summer has been named a national finalist in the Miss Teen Australia Continents pageant competition.
The 12 year old was bullied while in year 6.
Summer was verbally and physically abused, ostracised and told she was ‘too skinny and should eat more’.
“It was very hard time because every day I would go to school and I felt like no one cared about me,” she said.
“I would ask ‘why am I here?’”
The bullying also spilled over into Summer’s social media accounts.
After moving schools, her parents wanted to keep her mind off busy so Summer started fundraising for anti-bullying campaigns.
The family was then told about pageants as a way to build confidence.
Her mother Bronwyn Hogan said she hoped the pageant helped to get her “happy, smiling Summer back.”
Summer said she wanted “to be a positive role model for other young girls”.
She also hopes to gain more confidence and make new friends.
As part of the competition, Summer is required to fundraise and contribute to her community.
She has decided to raise money for the Cancer Centre for Children at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, the Heart Foundation and and the Luke Priddis Foundation, which supports children with autism spectrum disorders.
“I wanted to help kids and adults in need,” Summer said. “You don’t realise how lucky you are until you see what other people go through.”
She will be fundraising at community events and through door knocking.
“I want to try my best to raise as much as I can,” Summer said.
The competition will be held in November and Summer will make appearances at events, do rehearsals, be required to give an interview and will walk down the runway in formal wear, swimwear and ‘outfit of choice’.
“I’m looking forward to the outfit of choice because I will get to wear my favourite clothes and that outfit is supposed to represent who I am,” she said.
Summer will compete against 40 other girls in her age category.
She said she would recommend pageantry to other girls and had enjoyed the experience so far.
“Project InstaKind is about spreading kindness on social media by making nice comments on photos,” she said.
“Empowering Me teaches boys and girls of all ages how to identify and cope with bullying.
“I want social media to be used for good not bad.”
Summer is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Narellan Vale’s Brooke Murray who was crowned Miss Continents 2018.
Details: Continents Pageant Australia