But now the 22-year-old from the Mansfield area is standing proud as a finalist in the Miss Natural Beauty England/UK competition.
And she is hoping that success in the competition, which leads to an international final in Belgium next year, would help her to boost charities close to her heart, Child Bereavement UK and BulliesOut.
“It would give me the exposure to raise money for them,” Nikita said. “When my brother died, there was hardly any bereavement support in the area, but this charity is very effective.
“Also, I was bullied so badly at school that I had to leave in year nine to be home schooled. I would love to go into schools now and talk about the work of BulliesOut.”
Gone are the days when beauty pageants, such as Miss World, were primarily about physical appearance, particularly in swimwear. The Natural Beauty events concentrate more on personality and contestants’ community work for charities.
And for Nikita, who hails from New Houghton but now lives in Shirland, Derbyshire with boyfriend Ben Holden, 24, they have been invaluable in bringing her out of her shell.
She explained: “I competed in Miss Mansfield and Sherwood Forest and was runner-up in 2019.
“I absolutely loved it because it gave me so much more confidence. I am a really anxious person, but these pageants are helping me a lot. They are for everyone.”
Nikita works as aa creative assistant for the Pleasley Vale-based company Starcrossed Boutique, which makes hats and fascinators (decorative headpieces) for ladies.
Alongside dozens of others, she successfully applied online to reach the final Natural Beauty, which is to be held in Warrington on Saturday, July 16.
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The final comprises several rounds, including interview, dance, fashionwear and evening wear. Two of Nikita’s dresses for the final are being sponsored by the bridal shop, Cherished Wedding Boutique, of Leeming Street, Mansfield, for whom she did modeling work for four years.
However, contestants score points for their community work too and have been challenged to raise money for two charities.
The charities are Giddo’s Gift, which improves the lives of young adults suffering from cancer, and Natural Cuddle Buddies, which helps children with life-limiting illnesses and gives them a personalized, cuddly bear to keep them company at hospital and GP appointments.
Nikita has already taken part in a sponsored 50k walking challenge to raise money. Now she is planning a charity day on Saturday, June 18 at the Red Lion pub in Shirland. Entry is free for an event that will feature live bands, games, entertainment, raffles and a tombola, and she is hoping to generate £800.
She has also organized an Easter egg collection for the children’s wards at King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton, with help from Mansfield sisters Layla and Jasmine Allsop.
Through her Facebook and Instagram accounts, Nikita is asking companies or individuals to donate eggs, which she will collect and present to the youngsters.
“I hope we can get more than 100,” she said. “I am also planning to volunteer at a care home, doing things like making tea.”