Local woman Inga Murinaite is to take part in the final of Miss Bikini Ireland at the beginning of December and is looking for your votes.
Inga, who works for Croghan's SuperValu, is originally from Lithuania and has lived in Ireland for the past eleven years. She lived for a time in Mayo, before moving to London for a short while and then settling in Athlone.
Speaking to the Westmeath Independent, Inga has appealed to people to vote for her to help get her through to the final.
“I separated from my ex-husband a couple of years ago and lost a lot of weight. I always wanted to do something like that (the contest) but I didn't have the confidence. I wanted to lose weight so I started exercising at home and eating healthily. I was determined to do something and I feel much better now,” she said.
Inga said her lifestyle changes gave her the confidence boost she needed and last year she entered the 'Diva Next Door' competition.
“I didn't get to the last 12 but I got a Facebook friend request from one of the organisers of Miss Bikini Ireland and they sent me a link to the competition. I've been picked from about 3,000 girls and there are around 35 of us in the final,” she explained.
Inga said the road to the final involved a number of photoshoots and interviews and now she is hoping for votes to make it to the top five.
“The winner will represent Ireland at Miss Swimsuit USA, the top 12 will do a calendar. I'd love to make it to the top five and maybe look for modelling contracts. I hoped to get noticed a little,” she said, adding that many of the participants already model.
At 30, Inga is one of the oldest contestants and having no experience with modelling she was nervous at first, but now she is more confident in front of the camera.
“Two years ago I did the Halloween photo shoot with the local photography club and I really liked it,” she said.
Mother to daughters, Kali (6) and Pippa (5), Inga works fulltime in Croghan's, SuperValu, which is her sponsor for the contest.
Inga has appealed for votes ahead of the December 1 final and you can cast your vote by texting Bikini112 to 57003.