A mum from Aston Clinton who was crowned Miss Mermaid Buckinghamshire earlier this year is now aiming to make a splash on a national stage.
Alice Axtell, 27, entered the pageant to help her deal with the anxiety attacks and postnatal depression she suffered following her two childbirths.
She says the competition has helped her ‘gain more confidence and take control of her anxieties.’
Alice told the Herald: “I had my first child when I was 19 and raised her on my own until she turned two.
“Like a lot of mothers I had postnatal depression but in time this went away.
“After my second child the postnatal depression came back and I also had anxiety attacks.
“As time went by the depression disappeared with help from family and friends but the anxiety has stayed with me to this day.
“I first start aerial hoop a year ago and just going once a week has really helped me come out of my shell and make new friends and have new passions.
“I also found that I am not alone and that most of the friends I have made are in the same boat.
“I entered a Miss Mermaid competition which is something completely different and challenging.
“I knew it was something where I would have to stand on a stage and show who I am and what I can do.
“I still have moments where I think it may be too much but then I tell myself no you can do this and anxiety can get stuffed!
“I am also inspired to show my children that you can do anything you put your mind too even if it is scary.”
Alice, who teaches baby swimming at Stoke Mandeville Hospital said: “I entered the pageant because I wanted to boost my confidence.
“The mermaid part is just a massive bonus.
“I love being underwater - it is so calming and therapeutic.
“I am also excited about being able to perform the aerial hoop in front of people after only starting last year.
“I can’t wait to raise money for the Marine Conservation Society and have already started going around the county talking to shops and restaurants about how to reduce the use on single use plastics.”
Alice will be competing against Miss Mermaids from other parts of the UK for the national crown.
The show starts with a sequence where mermaids flip their tails on stage and continues with four judged rounds.
It starts with an eco round where mermaids create costumes from recycled materials before moving on to a beachwear round where contestants parade in beach attire.
Other rounds are the underwater photo round, evening gown round and a talent round where Alice will show her skills with the hoop (such as the one displayed in the photo above).
The final takes place in Bracknell, Berkshire next month.