05 Oct 2022

Miss Kilkenny is raising awareness of mental health supports


Shreya Ambade with Cycle Against Suicide volunteers on The Parade

A young Kilkenny woman who spent her teenage years living in India and witnessed the amazing work of Miss World supported charities now hopes to continue that work.

Shreya Ambade was named Miss Kilkenny earlier this summer and will represent the county at the Miss Ireland finals in Mayo, on August 20.
Born and raised in Kilkenny City, Shreya lived in India from the age of 12 to 15, before her family returned to Kilkenny. She graduated from the Presentation Secondary School and is now a student of biomedical science at UCD.

While living in India Shreya saw the huge presence of Miss World and the work the organisation supports, including anti-poverty and hygiene initiatives. She found it inspiring and sees the competition as giving her a platform to raise awareness and fundraise for causes close to her heart.
When her mother, Anjala, told her earlier this year that Miss Ireland was taking entries, Shreya decided that not only would it be good for her own confidence to take part, but she could use the opportunity to work in the community here in Kilkenny.

The selection process to become Miss Kilkenny involved the traditional fashion and interviews, but it also asked participants to speak about causes that mattered to them, as part of the ‘beauty with a purpose’ initiative.
Shreya has chosen to highlight mental health and wellbeing because it’s a universal aspect of life. Ireland is ranked third out of 36 European countries with the highest rates of mental health illnesses.

“During the pandemic, amidst all the uncertainty, I realised how important it is to take accountability for your mental health and practice well being. Also, as someone who has moved quite a bit I’ve had my own personal share of struggling to adapt to new environments. The transition of life after the leaving cert (living on my own, making new friends in a new city; huge life shift in general) is something I struggled with and many people I know (especially students) also struggled with which is why I wanted to centre my beauty with a purpose project around mental health and healing, destigmatising conversations around traumas and baggage and the rollercoaster of healing.”
Using her Miss Ireland platform to raise awareness, Shreya has been using her Instagram @orangewillow14 to talk to organisations and therapists, like Samaritans and Kilkenny’s own Teach Tom.

Shreya is also fundraising for a Variety Ireland project to buy a specially adapted bike for a disabled child in Kilkenny. There’s a waiting list for these trikes and they can help change a child’s life.
You can support both appeals through links on Shreya’s Instagram or click here: ‘Miss Kilkenny’ on Go Fund Me. Donations will enter you in a raffle with some great prizes.

Shreya is also a singer songwriter and for the Miss Ireland talent round she wrote and sang an original song about the Miss Ireland journey so far. She will be singing it again at the Miss Ireland Diamond Ball on August 19 in Castlebar.
Shreya said: “I am incredibly excited to represent Kilkenny at Miss Ireland this year and look forward to the final on the 20th and the continuing journey afterwards.”

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