A Leaving Cert pupil said she wants to enter the Miss Ireland contest to be a role model for other students going through "tough" times due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Kildare teenager Sarah Connolly (18) is currently in the Wild Card category hoping to get enough public votes to be a 'People's Choice' entrant in the grand final of the national beauty pageant.
Sarah, who is a pupil at Holy Family Secondary School in Newbridge, is already a finalist in the Miss Kildare contest and is sponsored by Newbridge Silverware.
She said: "I want to represent the younger generations of girls that are going through the tough and testing years of school, especially during Covid-19 and I have found it is difficult to stay positive.
"I would love to bring the positivity back and hopefully inspire these young girls to follow their dreams no matter the circumstances and for some girls hopefully they themselves will apply to Miss Ireland one day."
Sarah said she also had "a tough 2020" and she decided to do something to give herself a boost.
She added: "Miss Ireland was something I have always wanted to do but just never felt brave enough to do it, but back in November I decided to bite the bullet and send in my application for Miss Kildare and I have become a finalist. I figured I had more to gain than I had to lose and I was right!"
Miss Ireland, established in 1947, is one of the world’s longest running beauty pageants and has been the launch pad for many stars in the past such as Rosanna Davison.
The organisers said the modern competition is not just based on beauty as there are many other tasks which the winner must complete to win the crown such as fashion, sports and social media skills.