At 5’ 9”, Katie O’Connor stands tall and straight, and is thrilled to have recently been crowned Miss Dublin 2022. A make up artist, a part time model and a talented dancer, it’s hard to believe this stunning 18-year-old was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis at the age of 11.
Katie was announced Miss Dublin 2022 last month and will go on to compete for the national title on August 20, with a total of 37 contestants in the final.
But life wasn’t always so glamorous for the Tallaght teenager. Seven years ago, her parents Priscilla and John O’Connor were devastated to be told their daughter had idiopathic scoliosis, a condition which can develop in teenagers for no apparent reason.
A dancer since the age of three, Katie underwent a seven-hour-spinal fusion surgery four years ago and thankfully, the corrective surgery was a success.
“I’ve been with Xquisite Dance since I was five years old,” said Katie. “And I worked my way back to the dancefloor after my surgery. I’m happy to say I am an All-Ireland champion in both ballroom and Latin dancing. I even represented Ireland at the World Championships in Armenia last November!”
Katie, who attended St Mark’s National School and Community College in Tallaght along with her brother Callum, is now a fully qualified ITEC make-up artist and works at Salon Aurora in Newlands Cross/Clondalkin.
“I model part-time and was previously contracted to Assets Model Agency,” she said.
But for now, Katie wants to highlight and promote her chosen charity in conjunction with Miss Dublin 2022. Katie wants to raise awareness regards to children waiting on scoliosis surgery and to raise money for Straight Ahead Ireland.
“Straight Ahead Ireland is under the umbrella of The Children’s Medical and Research Foundation (CMRF),” said Katie. “Donations to this organisation will help them to help children with major orthopedic problems such as severe scoliosis and provide them with the life changing surgery they need.
“These children’s conditions are deteriorating while they wait to get spinal fusion surgery – I’ve been there, and I was so lucky to have had early diagnosis and treatment.
“That’s why I fully support Straight Ahead Ireland and the work they do. Every child deserves to live a normal life and to achieve their ambitions. I want to help all scoliosis patients to have a fair chance in life and to assure them that their diagnosis doesn’t stop them, they can follow their dreams.”
Donations please to https://www.gofundme.com/f/straightaheadirelandinaidofscolios
Every euro donated could help a child get the treatment and corrective surgery they need.
“Thanks to everyone who is donating as it means a lot to all the scoliosis patients out there, and to me!” said Katie.
The Miss Ireland final will be hosted in Castlebar on August 20, and the winner will receive a lucrative agency contract and prizes including gowns, jewelery, professional photo shoots, beauty and hair products, etc. The national winner will then represent Ireland at the Miss World Festival, which garners massive coverage across the globe. Sponsored by TanOrganic, the theme for Miss Ireland 2022 is ‘Our World, Our Future’ focusing on climate change, the environment and global citizenship.