You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Inspiring rags-to-riches story of little girl who became Miss England doctor

Mirror logo Mirror 11/08/2019 Kelly Jenkins

She's the newly crowned Miss England who has smashed the stereotype of the competition.

a woman smiling for the camera: She studied for two degrees at the University of Nottingham, graduating last month © Roland Leon/Sunday Mirror She studied for two degrees at the University of Nottingham, graduating last month Bhasha Mukherjee has a genius-level IQ of 146, two medical degrees and speaks five languages.

And she started work as a doctor the day after winning the beauty contest.

But today the 23-year-old tells how she was bullied at school for being poor and suffered mental struggles after arriving in the UK from India in 2005.

Bhasha and her family moved from Calcutta to Swindon, Wilts, for her ­father’s job when she was nine.

But they ended up worse off than before.

She recalled: “In India I would say we were lower middle class.

a person wearing a hat: Bhasha Mukherjee was recently named Miss England, after graduating from a medical degree last month © Roland Leon/Sunday Mirror Bhasha Mukherjee was recently named Miss England, after graduating from a medical degree last month “We could afford food but there were restrictions in terms of luxuries. It was all about budgeting and saving.

“When we came to the UK, things were very different. There were a lot of ­financial struggles. We were living in a shared house with other families.

“All four of us, my mum and dad, me and my brother, slept in one room.

“Money was tight. We would buy our clothes at car boot sales or charity shops.

a person posing for the camera: Bhasha was bullied as a young girl growing up © Bhasha Mukherjee Bhasha was bullied as a young girl growing up “I still have a memory of World Book Day, where you don’t wear a uniform to school, and are supposed to dress as your favourite character.

“I just wore my normal clothes. One of the kids said, ‘What have you come dressed as, a tramp?’

“I never felt accepted, I couldn’t ­participate in all the things my peers could because we lived in a shared house.

“I couldn’t have sleepovers or invite people round.”

a woman standing in front of a group of people posing for the camera: Bhasha pictured with her mum, Mita, and her brother, Arya, at her graduation from the University of Nottingham after studying medicine © Caters Bhasha pictured with her mum, Mita, and her brother, Arya, at her graduation from the University of Nottingham after studying medicine Bhasha’s parents could not afford books or internet ­access so Bhasha sought solace in the library, where her love for ­studying began.

She said: “The library was my safe haven. It was a way to deal with being bullied.

“I always got ­encouragement from my teachers so I found it easy to become a teacher’s pet.

“I would do anything it would take to impress my teachers – get good grades, get even better grades, get the best grades.”

Her top marks propelled Bhasha to Nottingham University, where she studied for two ­degrees, medical sciences and medicine and surgery, graduating last month.

a person standing in front of a building: Bhasha took up modelling as a way to find balance and a break from her studies © Roland Leon/Sunday Mirror Bhasha took up modelling as a way to find balance and a break from her studies Losing a family member to ­suicide drove her desire to be a doctor. Her hope is to ­become a GP specialising in mental health. But at uni she battled anxiety and depression.

“For the whole first year, I could barely get out of bed to go to ­lectures,” she said.

“I was very forgetful and not very organised. It even made me miss an exam – not because I didn’t want to do it, but because I forgot. I was so disorientated. I also lost a lot of weight.”

Bhasha sought out ­therapy and took up ­modelling as a way to find balance and a break from her studies. She said: “Things slowly started to improve.

What I’ve done at each stage is find something to hold on to. Something positive to take me out of that dark place.

Basha is both beautiful and intelligent and speaks five languages © Mercury Press Basha is both beautiful and intelligent and speaks five languages “I did charity work and modelling. It gave me more of a life outside of my studies. I did cognitive behavioural ­therapy. Now I can spot the signs.

“Sometimes when you are in that dark well it becomes your reality and you lose perspective of the world outside it.

“A lot of people who are going through mental health problems reject the world. My advice is, seek out help, let people in and let them help you.”

Bhasha also set up her own charity called the Generation Bridge Project, which organises events at care homes, while still in school.

She even auditioned for Love Island and almost made it as a contestant on this year’s show.

Bhasha said: “I got through almost all the way. I think there were some ­problems with the medical history side of things.

a person posing for the camera: Basha has now qualified as a junior doctor after growing up under tough conditions © Roland Leon/Sunday Mirror Basha has now qualified as a junior doctor after growing up under tough conditions It was a challenge. I’d never even seen the show. Now I’m kind of glad that didn’t happen because if I had gone there I wouldn’t have become Miss England.”

Her shop worker mum Madhumita, chef dad DD and younger brother Arya, 18, are hugely supportive of Bhasha’s pageant career as well as her

medical one. “My family, especially my mum, have always been super ­supportive,” she said.

“My mum is my hero. She’s just gone through a divorce from my dad and she was working long hours at Primark.

Rebecca Ferguson et al. posing for the camera: Bhasha with her proud dad, Durga, who couldn't afford to buy her books or provide internet access while she was growing up © Caters Bhasha with her proud dad, Durga, who couldn't afford to buy her books or provide internet access while she was growing up “But she’s always said, ‘Don’t stop dreaming and chasing your ambitions’.

Bhasha is a junior doctor at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, Lincolnshire.

She started her first shift the morning after being crowned Miss England on August 1.

She said: “There are people at work who know about me winning, and they make little jokes but I get my head down and get my work done.

“Working in the NHS is tough. You don’t get the chance to think about all the fame. It is very humbling. It keeps me grounded.

“I’m on the respiratory ward, one of the busiest wards in the hospital. It’s been interesting being thrown in at the deep end.”

Bhasha said her ­upbringing had taught her to earn a good living but also to give something back to society.

“I have been so ­fortunate to be crowned Miss England and am delighted to represent the true British values in this country.

a group of people standing on a stage posing for the camera: Newly crowned Miss England Basha Mukherjee, with runners up Domenique (2nd) Fragale and Pratishtha Raut (3rd) © supermodel@btclick Newly crowned Miss England Basha Mukherjee, with runners up Domenique (2nd) Fragale and Pratishtha Raut (3rd) Such as a fair society, the welfare system, the free libraries, free education, free health care system that allows people from low income ­backgrounds to thrive.

“I was very fortunate to climb that ladder.

“It feels great to be able to give something back.”

Pictures: Celebrities who were beauty queens

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention and mental health:

Lifeline's 24-hour telephone counseling service on 0800 543 354

Need to talk? 1737 – free call or text any time to talk to a trained counselor

Depression Helpline (8am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757

Suicide Crisis Helpline (aimed at those in distress, or those who are concerned about the wellbeing of someone else) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz

Healthline – 0800 611 116

Samaritans – 0800 726 666

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

More from The Mirror

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon