A WEE COUNTY woman is using her heartache as fuel as she begins her bid to be crowned Miss Europe.

Jodie McCallum was contacted through her social media accounts by the competition producers and asked if she would like to represent Scotland at Miss Europe Continental later this month.

Despite never having competed in pageantry, Jodie was selected after a series of interviews and told she would be going to Italy to compete. Not only that, she was told she would be going straight through to the final.

It caps off a huge year for the Tullibody woman, following on from a double personal tragedy after sadly losing both her brother and her gran.

But instead of dwelling, Jodie decided to use the situation as motivation to make a better life for herself.

Jodie, who models part-time, told the Advertiser: "It is a competition which is held all year with different countries holding their own competition to see who goes through, but Scotland has never been included before.

"Producers contacted me on social media and told me they wanted me to take part, so I done video interviews where I had to talk about myself and what I think I would bring to the contest."

Jodie feels it was her regular background and life experience that made her stand out.

Rather than coming from a background with pageants, she has had to work hard to carve out openings in the cut-throat modelling world.

She said: "I'm not your typical pageant girl; I bring something real, and I have a lot of my own experience. I'm not someone who has pageantry in their heritage."

When Jodie arrives in Naples, on November 19, she will begin television interviews and photoshoots before taking part in the final contest on November 23.

Should the 26-year-old be successful, she would then begin a year's contract with the competition's sponsors, which last year included Ray-Ban, Audi, Dolce and Gabbana and Samsung.

Jodie, who also works full-time as a commercial analyst and is currently working towards an accounting degree, said she is nervous but has been trying to do things which scare her as preparation.

She said: "I'm really nervous about it, but this year I have tried to do things which make me nervous and take me out my comfort zone.

"I'm really excited. I never thought I would get anywhere with it [modelling] because I don't have a lot of confidence.

"My brother and gran both died this year, but I have used that as fuel to just keep going."

Jodie will compete at Miss Europe Continental between November 19 and 24 in Naples.