Beauty queen who needed hip replacement at 22 learns to walk down catwalk again
A beauty queen who needed a hip replacement at 22 has learned to strut down the catwalk again.
Eleanor Farr, 26, was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 19 while studying graphic design at university in Leeds, West Yorks.
She had been struggling to walk due to joint pain in her legs and feet.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease that causes the immune system to attack healthy joints.
Eleanor spent five months bed-bound in agony and by 22 she needed a total left hip replacement because the disease had destroyed all of her cartilage and caused the bones to crumble.
After surgery and a long recovery learning to walk again, the photographer has found a new lease of life and self-confidence through pageants.
She was crowned Miss North West at the Miss Manchester finals last Saturday, May 22.
Eleanor, from Malpas, Cheshire, said: “Doctors said I had one of the most severe cases in the country and I had the disease as aggressive as you can get it – it completely destroyed my hip.
“Two years of my life were wiped out. I was always very confident growing up but when I got ill I became a shell of who I used to be.
“I got really depressed and felt like I had nothing going for me anymore – I spent a lot of time thinking I didn’t want to live anymore.
“But after finding the right treatment drug and having a hip replacement I feel like I’ve been given a new lease of life and I’m determined to seize the day and make up for lost time.
“At my first pageant I felt like a fish out of water because I’ve always been a tomboy and I’d lost all my confidence.
“I started off being really awkward and uncomfortable but by the end of it I’d become a beauty queen – It’s helped me so much in getting my confidence back.
“It felt amazing to be up on stage after not being able to walk for so long and really surreal because I didn’t think that was something I’d ever be able to do.
“Because my condition was so bad it looked more and more likely I’d be wheelchair bound for the rest of my life so to walk on stage and be crowned Miss North West was a dream come true.”
Eleanor’s arthritis ravaged her entire body, affecting almost all of her joints and even causing a swelling on her spine.
She spent two years trying different drugs to suppress the disease that made her extremely ill and put her in hospital with liver failure.
In January 2017 she was sent to Chapel Allerton hospital in Leeds where surgeons replaced her destroyed hip with a reverse hybrid hip made from titanium, ceramic and plastic.
Eleanor said: “I suffered for two years trying lots of different drugs that didn’t work or just made me so sick I couldn’t keep food down.
“I was in so much agony from my joints that mum had to dress me and being bed bound for so long made me lose all muscle mass until my legs were like twigs.
“I was on steroids which made my face balloon so I was repulsed by how I looked as well.
“I couldn’t do anything for myself and was aware that time was running out to find a drug that worked for me to stop the arthritis before I became permanently disabled.
“I thought I would never get better and would spend my life in pain – I don’t think I’d still be here if I hadn’t got the right drug and hip replacement when I did.”
The drug Rituximab put Eleanor’s arthritis into remission and prevented her immune system from continuing to attack her joints.
She spent three months following her hip replacement having physio to build muscle mass and strength back up and learning to walk again after five months of being bed-bound.
Once Eleanor regained her strength she focused her efforts on setting up her own photography business and opening a studio outside of Chester.
She also decided to pursue her dream of becoming a beauty queen after spotting a Facebook post asking for applicants, and went on to become a Miss England and Miss Cheshire finalist.
Now Eleanor is looking forward to the finals which will take place at the Trafford Centre’s drive-in theatre on Saturday 22 May in what will be the world’s first ever drive-through pageant.
Eleanor said: “Pageants are something I’d always wanted to try and after everything I went through I decided to just give it a go.
“The first pageant I did was Miss England in March 2019 and then the finals in July that year and enjoyed it so much.
“There’s all different rounds including intelligence, fundraising, public vote, influencer, etc. – they look for a jack of all trades with talent and hard work.
“I raised £9,000 for three charities including the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) which supports people with my condition, and they’ve made me an ambassador.
“I absolutely love pageants, I just wish I’d started sooner.”