Northern Ireland

Cara Mailey: South Belfast schoolgirl starring in new CBBC fashion contest for young designers

Cara Mailey is among the young designers on the new CBBC series ‘Style it Out’
Cara Mailey is among the young designers on the new CBBC series ‘Style it Out’

No stranger to fame - south Belfast schoolgirl Cara Mailey is embarking on her latest television adventure by starring in a new show for children aimed at raising awareness of sustainability and recycling.

The 15-year-old from Carryduff, who was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, joins eight other creative fashion-loving young people as they compete to win the chance to showcase their original creations at London Fashion Week.

Presented by Emma Willis, the new series ‘Style it Out’ will see the young designers challenge fashion ‘norms’ and stereotypes, create cool clothes for all shapes and sizes and learn more about sustainability and recycling.

Cara Mailey with presenter Emma Willis
Cara Mailey with presenter Emma Willis

It is the latest taste of stardom for Cara who when aged just nine inspired audiences when she appeared on another children’s TV programme to help raise awareness of her height-restricting condition which affects cartilage growth in the body,

Shortly after her appearance on the kids makeover show, The Dengineers, she landed a role on Craft Party - a UK adaptation of a popular Israeli children’s craft and DIY show.

Since then she has appeared in Derry Girls and in the CBBC documentary My Life: Made to Measure, where she helped design a fashion line for children with achondroplasia and she has also written her first novel, ‘She’s Fierce, by Cara’.

A pupil at Assumption Grammar School in Ballynahinch, she is now back on television screens working her fashion magic on old clothes.

She travelled to Coventry last summer for the filming, which sees her use pre-loved clothes, vintage, second-hand and rescued materials, to upcycle and embellish outfits.

Cara has described her enjoyment at getting involved in the challenge of creating an entire outfit from “pre-loved bits”.

She added that she had “so much fun” taking part in the programme, which also saw her grandmother make a surprise appearance in one of the episodes as Cara’s model.

Her mum Tricia, who also has achondroplasia, told The Irish News that Cara was delighted to be chosen to feature in the show.

“She loved being a part of it and trying to raise the awareness of recycling fashion,” she said.

Cara travelled to Coventry to film the show last summer

Joining Emma Willis and the contestants in the show are judges Ayishat Akanbi and Jorge Antonio, as well as weekly celebrity guests, which include stylist Gok Wan and Strictly Come Dancing star Katya Jones.

The winner of each semi-final gets through to the final, plus a wildcard finalist chosen by the resident judges.

The overall winner gets the chance to show their designs at London Fashion Week.

PICTURE: Lion Television Scotland
Gok Wan, Anaïs Gallagher, Emma Willis & Shereen Cutkelvin. PICTURE: Lion Television Scotland

Ms Willis said the show had been “a real passion project for me so I’m thrilled it’s finally here for kids to enjoy and hopefully be inspired by”.

“The show is an amazing platform for the next generation of stylists and fashion designers to showcase their individuality and creative flair, all with sustainability in mind,” she said.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch these talented young creatives flourish and show off their personal style.”

Style it Out is on CBBC on Wednesday at 6pm and on BBCiPlayer.