Rocky teen model raises her voice against bullying
DAKOTA Lee Shaw has been a victim of bullying and is using her voice to spread awareness.
Dakota said a girl, who had been a friend of hers in primary school and was a year older, "threatened to bash me” when Dakota arrived at high school which "happened for a week or two”.
"There was another incident with a girl on the bus, and she said that I wouldn't come off the bus looking pretty,” Dakota said.
"She was really jealous of my modelling.
"I think that's why I keep my modelling life away from my school life.”
The 13-year-old indigenous girl is a Grade 9 student at South Rockhampton High School, and shared her personal experiences with bullying.
Dakota's mother Sue said her daughter was born with a large nevus, a black birthmark, on her back and over ten years, she slowly had it removed.
However, this left a scar.
She said Dakota would get "a bit of harassment” at times when it was visible.
On Saturday, the teenager will travel to Springsure to attend a Dolly's Dream rodeo.
The event is being held in honour of Amy "Dolly” Everett, a 14-year-old girl from the Northern Territory, who sadly took her own life last month after being a victim of severe bullying.
Dakota will give a speech to spread awareness about the impacts of bullying.
Sue said Dolly's suicide as a result of bullying "really hit home” as they were close in age and so she wants her daughter's voice to be heard.
"Since (Dakota) started doing this fundraising for Say No to Bullying and Dolly's Dream, she's been getting a couple of cyber bullies as well, saying some mean things about her,” Sue said.
"Dakota is pretty strong and having six older brothers, I think that helps her.”
She has been modelling for five years, since her family arrived in the Beef Capital from Cloncurry.
Dakota will be competing in the Miss Teen Diamond Pageant in Brisbane in April, which is a charity event.
She was given the opportunity to pick a charity to support, and she chose Say No to Bullying.
"This is important to me because as a young teen, I think that it's important for us young youth to step up and say no bullying because it's such a common thing that happens,” she said.
"It doesn't matter who you are, or where you come from, bullying should never happen.”