SHE looks every inch the model as she smiles for the camera.

Jai Dará Latto turns a few heads as she poses for photographs on the banks of the River Tweed near her home in Walkerburn - catching the eye of a couple of canoeists as they pass by.

However, as the gentle breeze catches her lushess locks, it’s hard to believe she was born a boy.

The 22-year-old former drag queen, a maintenance worker at Rosetta Caravan Park in Peebles, has entered the first ever Miss Transgender UK competition.

It is the first beauty pageant she has been allowed to compete in as a transgender woman, having previously been kicked out of Miss Earth, a female only event, when they discovered her sex at birth.

Now she revealed she hoped to win the competition to raise awareness of the transgender community and give hope to other people in her position to come out - especially in tight knit communities like the Borders.

Jai, who moved to Scotland when she was three after being born in Bangkok, Thailand, to a Scottish father and Thai/Indian mother, said: “This is like the first pageant where I can compete in this country and be proud of doing it.

“When I started performing as a female and live my life as one, I felt that I’d finally started my road to the dream that I’d always wanted since I was a young child. My outside self is finally beginning to match my inner truth, my inner self.

“Living in a small town you would think I would be discriminated or shunned for being different. But that is far from reality I have a huge support group and when I came out as trans it couldn’t be more positive.

“I want to win Miss Transgender UK as I see it as an amazing platform to show people that there are people like me who live in very rural areas and small towns who don’t have the facility or help, or support group I have. So would love to win so I can help other like that. And actually show them it gets better.” The winner of Miss Trangender UK 2015 will receive a prize of £5000 as well as a 12 month modelling contract in London.

As part of the competition, Jai will be asked three random questions - including one on her home life and how her community and family have accepted her.

The former Peebles High School pupil first came out aged just 16. But she revealed it wasn’t until she began modelling drag and doing burlesque shows that she really began to feel comfortable in herself.

Jai said: “I have decided to step forward and tell my story and own my truth. So I have chosen to use my voice to speak up and to live visibly because being silent would be a disservice to me and to people who came before me and to people who have been silenced through violence and hate. I have to be honest with my experience. The funny thing about honesty is it’s not just a gift you give to others but also yourself.

“I’m only on hormones just now so I’m just starting to transition and especially living in a small rural area you would think it would be hard but I find that the more support is from this area. I used to stay in Edinburgh and work on the gay scene but I find I get more support down here from people who aren’t in the LGBT community than actually in the community.” When asked how easy it was to come out, Jai, who dressed in rigour boots, high-visibility jacket and cargor pants in her day job, added: “I worried a wee bit because you don’t get a lot of coloured people or gay people (in the Borders), so being trans and coloured you would think I’d be stoned on the street. But I’m not. I find everyone is welcoming.

“The only thing that some people struggle with is what toilets I should use or whether to refer to me as him or her. People do accept me, I think they just need to know more about it and that’s what I’m doing this for. With Caitlyn Jenner coming out and Kellie Maloney, it’s coming more in the public eye. I’d like to use this platform to teach people how to educate people.”