This weekend sees Derry nurse, Emmette Dillon, jet off to The Face of the World competition in Birmingham.
The global show will see contestants from all over the world attempt to take the crown and win a modelling contract with a London agency.
Emmette will also be making an appearance at Birmingham International Fashion Week and get a chance to be seen by emerging and international fashion designers alike.
But far from taking himself too seriously as a model, Emmette will be using the experience to keep up his public profile in order to continue his campaign for Cancer Research which he began after losing his mother Anne-Marie just 14 months ago.
Since then Emmette has been heavily involved in the BeBraveBeBodyAwareBeCancerFree Campaign which aims to help people become aware of Cancer symptoms at the earliest possible stage.
Emmette was chosen as one of the contestants in the prestigious modelling competition after he was spotted while producing Miss Earth Northern Ireland; one of his many sidelines when he is not nursing in Altnagelvin Hospital.
“If I had listened to people when I went for my first casting as a model, I would never have made it at all,” he said.
“I was told that I had a big nose, in fact that I needed a nose job. They also told me to lose weight which was hilarious because I’m over six foot and I was 10 stone. If I had listened to any of that I would have been in trouble.
“I believe in having a good self image, it’s not all about being perfect. There’s so much pressure on young men and women these days to have perfect teeth, a perfect body and never to seen in the same clothes twice when they go out, it’s the celebrity culture and it’s really sad.
“I don’t take it all too seriously because there is always somebody younger and better looking than you and that’s just how it is.
“At the same time I really enjoy it and of course it’s great fun dressing up in great clothes and strutting your stuff.
“Different Class on Carlisle Road have sponsored me by giving me all the clothes for the competition.
“I might be out there modelling, but I’m no stranger to anxiety and depression and I think that a lot of young men put a brave face on that.
“I’m not ashamed to say that when I lost my mother I went into a dark place and if that helps anyone then that’s a job well done.
“Too many young men; especially in Derry don’t tell anyone when they are feeling down. The suicide rate here is far too high.
“It’s not all about how you look; it’s about being comfortable and happy and healthy.”
Emmette’s cancer awareness campaign led him to help produce this years’s Legendenderry calendar; which is already well under way.
Monies raised from the calendar will go to help the Foyle Hospice and Emmette hopes that the second years of “tastefully nude” picture will strike a cord with enough people to raise plenty of much needed funds.
In July of this year Emmette organised the first shoot for the 2016 calendar together with the mother and sister of Sorcha Glenn.
Tragically, Sorcha lost her batle with Cervical Cancer in October 2014 aged just 23.
The first shoot was with Doire Dress Design who were top of the queue to ofer sponsorship for the calendar, the proceeds of which will be split between the Foyle Hospice and the Irish Cancer Society.
The Foyle Hospice, where Emmette’s mother was nursed at the end of her life, is a charity which stays very close to his heart.
“ The Foyle Hospice allowed my mother control and dignity at the end of her life which is something that we will always be grateful for, “ continued Emmette.
“I would describe the people who nursed her as angels.
“I’m ashamed to say that like a lot of people I was one of those who used tosay ‘Oh the hospice gets everything, it must have enough money to run’.
“But the truth is that that the hospice only receives funding of £600,000 and the running costs are £3 million a year.
They need all the help that they can get to make up that shortfall and I am glad to be of help in any way that Ican.
“The other thing that people don’t seem to realise is the scale of services and geographical areas covered by the hospice care team.
“They provide services right across the North West as far out as Enniskillen.
“I’ve had people criticise me for doing this charity work and say that I am using my mother’s death to get publicity for myself.
“I really don’t care about that at all. If modelling in a show or helping to make a calendar helps one young person with body image issues or self esteem problems or it encourages one person to get symptoms checked out early then I don’t care what people say about me. I just want to help out.”