Leeds' Miss Swimsuit UK hopeful needs your instagram votes to get to the finals
A Leeds office worker with an incurable condition is in with a chance of making it to the final of a national swimsuit competition and need people's votes.
Annabelle Smith, 27, of Hyde Park took part in the regional heats of Miss Swimsuit UK in Manchester last weekend and even though she didn't win the heat she was picked out to be a wildcard entrant and still has a chance to make it to the finals of the national competition which will be held in September.
She now needs public votes via Instagram and the wildcard with the most votes by 9pm on Monday night will go through.
Miss Smith says she entered the competition to try and raise awareness of an incurable condition she has, called EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), which sees her dislocate her shoulder around 100 times per year.
Rather than view the competition as a beauty pageant style event, she it was about giving women body confidence.
She said: "I was surprised to get picked for the wildcard as I am only five feet one and didn't know what to expect. The other girls had done things like this before, potentially had had enhancements and I was going just as me.
"This is about empowering women and body confidence and that is why this was the right route for me. All us girls became friends and we were supportive of each other rather than it being so much a competition."
Votes are being cast via the Miss Swimsuit UK instagram page.
Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are a group of rare inherited conditions that affect connective tissue and the different types of EDS are caused by faults in certain genes that make connective tissue weaker.
Miss Smith spent her childhood in a sling, in and out of hospital and told not to do any form of exercise as even carrying a handbag would be too much weight for her body to handle.
But over the years of physio, operations and rehabilitation she has adapted to live with the condition and now passes on her fitness and nutrition expertise to other people and is using the competition to inspire other women to become empowered and body confident.