Mouth guard in, head gear on, once bullied Perth model Ashleigh Munro-Smith steps into the ring for another sparring session in preparation for the 2014 Royal Queensbury Championship.
The championship, also commonly referred to as white collar or celebrity boxing, will see 20 ‘Perthonalities’ battle it out on May 9 at the Crown Perth Grand Ballroom. Proceeds will go toward helping sick and disadvantaged children.
Model, and former Miss Universe Australia contestant Munro-Smith says training twice a day for 10 gruelling weeks was very taxing physically and mentally.
“This is one of the hardest things I have ever done,” she says.
“I am following a strict training program set in place by the Hurt Locker [gym] in Claremont.
“But this is getting me to the fittest I have ever been.
“I train twice a day, six days a week and maintain a healthy diet, on top of work and other commitments.”
Munro-Smith says she was bullied at high school, and more recently at the start of her modelling career via social media.
“… back in high school I was not very popular,” she says.
“Year eight was one of my hardest years.
“I was teased and bullied for being tall, curly-haired and skinny with braces.”
Being constantly picked on, Munro-Smith for a while gave up on her dream to become a model.
At the age of 19 she decided to give modelling a go, only to end up with one of her then friends turning on her.
“Back then, social media such as Facebook had just become a thing and [a] friend at the time and her friends used it to belittle and mock me,” she says.
“Social media is such a powerful tool and sometimes the power can be too much for people.”
Now 26, Munro-Smith says she wants to show anyone who doubted, and put her down, how far she has come and that being a model does not equate to being weak.
“I want to be a role model through my actions for those who are afraid of doing something outside of their comfort zone,” she says.
“This is not about winning but rather something that I add to my personal gains and having fun.
“Making it to the ring is a huge accomplishment in itself.”
Troy Angelini, who is training Munro-Smith, says she is progressing each day and is more determined than ever.
“I have known her … a few years now and I am aware of the struggles she has faced in the past,” Angelini says.
“[Boxing] is a demanding challenge.
“There are highs and lows but she is tackling every day with determination and will no doubt prove a point.”
Models and big-hitting corporate folk will slug it out for charity in 10 bouts of two-minute rounds before 1200 guests.
Last year’s fight-fest raised a record $310,000 for charity.
Photography: Sandrine Captieux