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Ex-homeless Mr England

November 01 2010
...and he‘s on his way to the Mr World contest!

A former rough-sleeper has swapped the cold streets of Birmingham for the highlife of London after being crowned Mr England. Vaughan Bailey, originally from Erdington, now enjoys a glitzy life rubbing shoulders with the stars, a far cry from his previous penniless existence.

The 23-year-old, who worked in low-paid catering jobs before his big break, is now bombarded with offers from TV companies and model scouts from top companies such as Models 1 and Select. But despite his meteoric success, Mr Bailey has vowed to stay true to his roots by helping those less fortunate in society.

He said: "I'm determined to stay focused and keep my feet on the ground. This is a notoriously fickle business, and I'm determined to build a long-lasting career... Helping others is really important to me; I know what it is like to struggle." Bailey says his life began to deteriorate after his parents split up when he was just 16 and he found himself living on his own. After spending time on friends' sofas and sleeping on the streets, he found solace through playing basketball.

A talent scout spotted him and offered him nine scholarships from top American Universities; he finally settling on a three-year course at Lindenwood University in St Charles, Missouri, in 2006. "At the time, basketball was very good for me. I just dedicated myself to it," he said in an interview with the BBC.

When he returned to the UK, the wannabe basketball star injured his knee and was forced to look elsewhere for a career. One of his friends suggested modelling, and after several successful bookings, he was talked into entering the Mr Birmingham competition, which he won. He went on to win the national crown and has since hardly had time to breath. He is due to jet out to Taiwan in November for the finals of the 'Manhunt' contest and to China in February for the prestigious Mr World contest.

Mr Bailey is extremely proud of his success but still gets star-struck at celebrity parties: "I'm not the kind of person to show off because I'm still very aware of my background. I recently found myself in the VIP area of a club chatting to Katie Price, and I was a bit overwhelmed."

However, he added; "I've had a great journey. Seeing all the things I have and all that I have been through has allowed me to really appreciate this life".