A mum from Hayes has made it to the UK Calendar Girls final after she underwent a transformation from a size 20 optician’s manager lacking in body confidence to a model.

Being on furlough last year meant that 15-stone-weighing Helen Berriman, 46, had the newly-found time to cook herself healthy meals.

She quickly lost four stone, became a size 14, and one evening after a glass of wine found herself applying for a modelling advert while scrolling through Facebook.

It boasted “all shapes and sizes welcome” and Helen’s hobbyist photographer husband helped her with some pictures to send in.

Before she knew it, she was advertising products on a lingerie site, had an Instagram account and modelling offers were flooding in.

Helen was then approached by the UK Calendar Girls team inviting her to apply to their casting competition, and she has just been voted into the final 80 to make it into the calendar.

The mum-of-one and step-mum-of-two said: “I’m surprised and happy that I’ve been selected out of 1,200 people to be in the final 80.

“It’s a really good feeling to be able to promote natural, normal looking women rather than typically stick thin, scar free, wobble free and wrinkle free people.

“I’m just normal and it’s nice that society is accepting of that.”

News Shopper: Helen was a size 20 optician's manager before she started modellingHelen was a size 20 optician's manager before she started modelling

Helen will attend a red carpet UK Calendar Girls event on September 8, where she will be taken in a limousine for ticketholders to cast their votes on who should make the winning 12 ‘Calendar Girls’.

She told the News Shopper she will have to “go on stage and work the room” to win the votes.

Helen said: “Anyone who attends is given a voting brochure so the more people I get on my side, the better the chance I have at winning.

“I’ve looked through the other contestants and I reckon I’m the oldest as I’m right at the top of the UK Calendar Girls age scale – so this is also my last chance as I can’t enter next year.

“If I win it’ll be just amazing for others in my situation - a message to everyone saying I’m normal and look what I’ve achieved.”

Helen has had a mixed response to her newly-found career from her children, with her 20-year-old step daughter getting into modelling herself, her 18-year-old step daughter disinterested and her 14-year-old daughter “quite embarrassed” by her mum's antics.

News Shopper:

Helen added: “The reason I’m doing this is to show people that you’re never too old.

“Life is short, Covid taught us that, so grab life and do what you want to do with it.

“I’d been in optics bored out of my mind and on anti-depressants for 20 years, and now I’m not bored or on medication – it’s definitely been life changing.

“We’ve all got a body, and it doesn’t have to be a size 10, and we’ve all got wobbly bits, saggy bits and scars."

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