A SHY schoolgirl has found confidence posing in front of a camera.

Emily Fernandes, who used to feel nervous and intimidated at school, has blossomed since she started acting and modelling.

The 12-year-old from Alderley Edge makes her competition debut today, Saturday, representing Cheshire amidst 40 hopefuls from across the country in the national final of Junior Miss British Isles 2021.

Emily Fernandes

Emily Fernandes represents Cheshire in the national final of Junior Miss British Isles 2021

The Wilmslow High School pupil hopes it could pave the way for an exciting new career.

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The competition takes place at Chester Racecourse and the winner will receive £1,000 cash prize.

Mum Maria said: "Emily has never been confident. She has always had very low self esteem and was an introvert person.

"If she had to present any work in front of the class she was really scared and used to be poorly two days before."

Knutsford Guardian:

However, once she steps onto the catwalk or stage, she is transformed.

"When I took her for a photo shoot, I couldn't recognise my daughter," said Maria. "She was a different person in front of the camera.

Knutsford Guardian:

"This modelling is a new world for Emily. It is helping her with her self esteem and confidence.

"It makes her feel much happier and positive."

Emily Fernandes

Emily Fernandes has found new confidence through modelling and acting

Andrea Avancini, an TV actress and director in Brazil, was so impressed by Emily's monologue from Little Women, she has offered her free online tuition.

"She said Emily was amazing and offered her a place to do a master's course as an actor," said Maria. "Another actor in Canada, Julian LeBlanc is also giving her coaching."

Emily, who used to live in Wilmslow, attends classes at The Actor's Lab in Altrincham and Stagecoach Performing Arts in Stockport.

Knutsford Guardian:

She has been dancing since she was four and has performed ballet on stage at Macclesfield Theatre.

Emily speaks Portuguese and her hobbies include yoga, playing the piano, roller skating and stand-up paddle boarding.

The gifted schoolgirl has 45, 700 followers on Instagram and hopes to follow in the footsteps of sister Bela, 22, a fitness model who has her own brand and business.

Emily Fernandes

Fitness model Bela with sister Emily

"Bela had suffered bullying and now has 1.3 million followers on Instagram," said Maria.

"Emily is now focussing on the positives. She is stepping out on the catwalk and has confidence to be interviewed in front of judges and lots of people. It is a model competition not a beauty competition.

"We hope she can sign with a good modelling agent.

Emily Fernandes

Maria and daughter Emily

" I am very proud of her, she is amazing."

Previous winners of Miss British Isles have been signed up by top modelling agencies, taken part in major TV shows and appeared in a Bollywood film.