Nicole Osborne is a lot like many 16-year-old girls. She spends her time with friends and family, and a lot of time practicing with the Stephenville High School Stingerettes. And like many pretty young girls, she dreamed of one day becoming a model.
“Honestly, I wanted to be in the Victoria’s Secret catalogues,” Osborne said.
But in August 2008, Osborne suffered injuries in an accident that put her dreams on hold. She was riding a miniature dirt bike when she lost control and crashed into a barbed wire fence, causing deep lacerations to her right arm, leg and side. Her head also struck a T-post.
“That’s what kept me from going through it,” Osborne said.
The young girl received 50 stitches and was left with deep, purple scars. And in the weeks following the accident, she began to think of those Victoria’s Secret catalogues.
“I thought it was over,” she said.
But Nana, otherwise known as Barbara Collins, wouldn’t allow her granddaughter to give up so easily. Only a month after the accident, she prodded the teen to continue to chase her dreams.
“Nana was a big inspiration,” Osborne said. “She said to follow my dreams and don’t give up on anything I believe in.”
Just a few weeks ago, however, the young teen - who had already lost her dad Destry Osborne to cancer when she was just 11 - suffered another difficult loss when Nana passed away on Sept. 12.
Then, on Sept. 18, one day after the young girl and her family buried their beloved matriarch, a letter arrived in the mail.
It seemed Osborne had been entered in the 2009 Ms. Teen Fort Worth competition, but Osborne had not applied and her mother Teresa Collins and her stepdad Jerry swore they had nothing to do with it.
“She was entered into it somehow, someway,” Teresa said.
The family could only assume Nana had signed Osborne up before she died.
“I didn’t think I was going to do it because I didn’t think I could do it without my Nana,” Osborne said.
But after long conversations with her parents and her older brother Colten Day, Osborne decided to give it a try.
The competition includes casual and formal wear categories as well as a personal interview. Osborne said not having to worry about a swimsuit competition played a role in her decision.
“It’s about all children, all shapes and sizes,” Teresa said. “Just because you have a scar or whatever, you’re still beautiful.”
Dance instructor Sherrie Evans with the Stingerettes agrees.
“Nikky is one of the most beautiful hearts I’ve ever known,” Evans said. “She always wants to please the people close to her.”
With three big days looming in front of her - a photo shot on Sunday, the first round of interviews on Oct. 23 and the final showdown on Oct. 24 - the self described “redneck Barbie” has spent the last several days preparing for the big event.
“And freaking out about it the rest of the time,” Osborne said.
But Evans has no doubt the young Sting will make a good impression.
“She is always and consistently trying to do better,” Evans said. “She’s hard on herself sometimes if she doesn’t achieve the goal she thinks she should.”
And Teresa is already proud of her daughter for having the courage to give it a try.
“Even if she does not win - she’s a winner,” Teresa said.
Osborne said she is simply a product of those around her. And without the support of her mom, dad, brother and Stingerette family, she would not have made it this far.
“I would also like to thank Mrs. Evans for her encouragement,” Osborne said. “She’s like a second mom.”
If Osborne places in the top 10, she will advance to a national competition in Florida.