A single mother-of-four who survived a near-death experience and overcame hardship to win a national pageant for plus-size women says she is “living her dream” by opening a beauty salon.

Lady Amerise, 37, of Tomswood road in Chigwell, says the turning point in her life came when she suffered multiple organ failure after contracting septicaemia during a trip to Pakistan seven years ago.

She was in a coma for 19 days and doctors feared the worst, but she defied the odds and began to recover.

“The doctors were shocked that I came out of it, my organs packed up and they told my father to arrange my funeral,” she said.

However, she spent two years virtually bed-bound as she gradually returned to health, but says her childhood passion for beauty and business never dimmed.

She later began taking part in beauty pageants, but her family disapproved and her relationship with her husband, who she married aged just 16, broke down.

But after tasting success by claiming the crown of Miss British Curve 2013, she vowed to fulfil a “burning ambition” to open her own beauty salon.

This dream has now become reality by converting a friend’s stock room into what she describes as a one-stop shop for multi-ethnic beauty treatments in High Street, Barkingside.

She said: “I’m building this business up myself. Every penny I won during the pageants I have put into this salon.”

“I started to grow in confidence, as I entered these pageants.

“I saw my face on bill-boards and I no longer felt any pain, I felt comfortable.”

“I’m living my dream and I want everyone to embrace their own inner beauty they have”

Lady Amarise is also UK representative on the World Human Rights Forum and, working with fellow ambassadors, she has opened a hospital in Khushab, Pakistan.