There’s always been so much controversy and negativity around pageants, especially since the televised competitions were cancelled in the 80s and then we had the recent ‘Love Island’ drama. Now I’m not here to cast my opinion on what’s right and what’s wrong, that’s up to you but I can tell you about why you should consider entering a pageant and hopefully I can counteract any misconceptions and rumours, this content is based on my own experience.
First let’s take a minute to appreciate the title picture here, some of the girls having a laugh and enjoying their time at the Miss England competition, thank you to photographer Simon Giddings from Prime Photography for catching this beautiful image!
1. You Make Friends
Just last week I met up with 2 girls I am now grateful to call my friends, both who I met through the pageant experience. Sarah Hulyer, Miss Medway 2017 and Larissa Hirst, a fellow Miss London 2016 contestant and 5 time Miss England finalist (the fact Larissa like many Miss England girls re enter the competition each year speaks for itself!) We watched a fashion show at Elys department store in Wimbledon (read that blog here) and then had dinner.
I met Sarah when we started chatting whilst trying on dresses at a trunk show for Mac Duggal and Marc Defang in Notting Hill in April, we went for a drink after the event and the rest is history!
There are so many stories like this in the pageant world, we all support one another, there’s no bitchiness like many people assume. In fact I didn’t come across one contestant I thought was even a bit of a diva, there were no St Trinian’s style sabotages and most importantly no Regina George Mean Girls!
2. You Gain Confidence
Believe it or not, pageants in the 21st Century include various different rounds including talent, an army style boot camp, social media, brainy beauty, creating eco wear, charity, catwalk, one to one interview with judges and a question round live on stage.
For Miss London 2016 we had to stand in front of an audience of at least 100 and speak about ourselves, why we would be a great Miss London and the work we had done for charity, for a good 2 minutes and THEN we were asked one of 20 questions at random. That takes guts and you should be proud of yourself!
My 14 year old self is still cowering in my boots at the thought and yet my 25 year old self now does this for a living! So have confidence in yourself, it just takes practice and self belief, something that is encouraged in pageantry.
3. You Help Others
One of the biggest parts of pageantry in this day and age is of course charity. The competitions give you a chance to raise both money and awareness for the less fortunate. As a pageant girl you are given a platform to be a role model and have a voice and that in itself is a huge power in your hands that you can make a difference with.
Just look at Miss Coventry and Warwickshire Rheo Parnell, for example, who has recorded and filmed a charity single to raise money and awareness for the Miss World and Miss England chosen charity ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ which saw the Miss England finalists take part too.
Just to give you a small insight into the sheer volume of funds being raised by these competitions I wanted to highlight the Miss England pageant who have to date raised just under £1 million for the charity.
4. You Open Doors To Opportunities
‘It’s not all about winning, you gain so much from entering that winning is just a bonus’ I overheard someone say this once (I can’t remember who it was, if it was you then please do let me know so I can attribute this quote to its rightful owner!) and I couldn’t agree more.
Through taking part in Miss England I have had the opportunity to present at London fashion week, something that wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for my contacts and friends I met at Miss England.
Just ask Miss Kent Ayshea Ahern who recently booked a modelling job and jetted off to Sri Lanka, an opportunity she was given through entering the competition.
Plus Lucy Physick and Steph Hill who have been recognised for their hard work and dedication in the competition and are lucky enough to be flying to Mauritius for a holiday thanks to the sponsors of the competition.
Also Miss Charity 2016 aka Miss Worcestershire Laura Beth Morgan who raised thousands of pounds for the charity and had a local beer named after her!
Not forgetting the wonderful experiences current Miss England Elizabeth Grant has undertaken so far on her journey, including modelling at London Fashion Week, attending a TV presenter course, a wardrobe of gowns from sponsor Mon Cheri and of course representing the country in Miss World in Washington DC in December.
5. You Discover YOU!
This is my 5th and most important thing you will get from entering a pageant. It takes courage, hard work and dedication, yes, but it’s totally worth it when you realise that you CAN do it and you see the things you had previously doubted about yourself disappear, replaced by ultimately being happy with who you are.
Instead of idolising others and wanting to be like someone else you discover there is no one else like you and this comes from how you tackle the tasks set for you, the knowledge you learn from passionate past contestants (thanks Larissa!) and the friendships you make along the way.
It’s a big commitment, a scary prospect but overall an adventure that can shape you as a person and an experience you’ll never forget!
Miss Devon 2017 Competition
I will be organising the Miss Devon 2017 competition, so any Devonians aged 16-26 who live/work/study in Devon and would like that chance to be the next Miss Devon, Miss England or even Miss World please do get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will also be launching my ‘Style School’ in London in the new year offering pageant training, confidence building and fashion tips, check out the Style School tab at the top of the page.
If you would like to enter any other heat in Miss England 2017 please head over to the official website and we look forward to hearing from you soon! http://www.missengland.info/
I’d love to hear what you guys think about this post and what has been your best pageant experience? If you’re new to pageantry and would like some help and advice please feel free to reach out to me.