A woman from Caversham who represented Reading at the Ms Galaxy UK pageant made the top 10 in the grand final last week.

Kristyna Maze, 30, only started to look into the idea of modelling properly in November.

She said: "I used to do modelling back in the Czech Republic when I was 18, but nothing major.

"I decided to fully dive into it in November.

"After doing my research about each beauty competition that is being held in the UK I understood that Galaxy UK is a really fun one and it also has a bikini round, which presented a massive challenge to me so I decided to apply and they actually selected me to represent Reading.

"It was crazy.

"It is a massive challenge for me – a real step outside my comfort zone as I strongly dislike being exposed to the public but ever since I turned 30 years old I decided to just do what feels uncomfortable and push myself more."

Kristyna took part in the grand final on March 8, where she made the top 10.

Speaking about her reasons for taking part, she said: "I wanted to get that 'I did it' feeling; I wanted to sit down after the show with a massive grin on my face and say 'you did it girl, you got on that stage in front of all those people and you smashed it.'

"I also want to show the judges that beauty pageant girls aren’t just models but business women, too.

"I want to show the IT world - the industry I work in - that IT sales aren’t just men but women, too, and that having long fake hair and a bouncy blow dry doesn’t mean you don’t know your stuff."

Kristyna said she would advise anyone hoping to get into modelling to go for it.

"I would say just do it.

"I know what it’s like to feel not pretty enough or not skinny enough and that you might just wait to lose weight or get a tan in the summer – no, that doesn’t work.

"Just go online, book a shoot and embrace the challenge.

"It feels so uncomfortable, I hate it at times but then when you see yourself on stage or when you hold a picture of you it feels great.

"We also live in a weird era full expectations and beauty standards – I seriously didn’t think I could ever go on stage with my nose, with my hair and all my hang ups but I applied, gave it a go and they said yes, the times are hopefully changing and we should be part of the change."

Kristyna will also be taking part in Miss British Isles Elegance in May.