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In Conversation With: Pageantry

Posted on August 16 2019

In Conversation With: Pageantry

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On the 11th August the Mellaris team were both proud guests and sponsors of the 2019 Miss Essex pageant. Hosted at The Cliffs Pavilion, regional director Emily Evans, and former Miss Essex in 2016, and her team organised a seamless night of celebrations for their 14 hopeful finalists. This years finalists dedicated their time in the run up to the competition by raising funds for the White Ribbon UK charity in memory of local Essex girl, Grace Millane. This touching sentiment and tribute set the tone for the night, and not only created a sense of community within the room but was also a kind reminder that pageantry isn’t solely all about glamour. Gathering together with purpose and passion, the 14 finalists bravely showcased their talents and personalities over a series of catwalks and Q&A’s. For some of the girls it was their first beauty pageant yet their endearing nerves only boosted the encouraging atmosphere as everyone continuously cheered and uplifted each other throughout the evening. Yet it was Georgie Goodey’s natural and charming presence on stage that awarded her the crowning title that evening! Georgie is a Billericay soldier as well as a weight lifter in her personal time, totally serving us Miss Congeniality vibes, which we absolutely loved. From her personality, career accomplishments and confidence it showcased that pageantry is not skin deep but in fact awards girls who’s beauty shines inside and out. It was also our own personal pleasure to dress the female judges on the panel this year, including Miss Essex 2018, Kirsty Bolt and Debra Tiffin. The pageant community continue to be great supporters of the Mellaris brand and so to celebrate our blooming friendship we interviewed a few of our favourite pageant winners to get the scoop on what it’s like to receive such a prestigious title.
 
         Miss Essex 2019 Winner- Georgie Goodey
 
Emily Evans
 
How have you dealt with the pressures of ‘looking a certain way’, especially in an age driven by social media?

I think that pageantry/Miss Essex is very accepting and encourages you to see beauty in everyone. You glow differently when you’re happy! So I think it all starts within you. When you’re in a community of women that are that so supportive and loving, it’s hard to get caught up in the
negatives of social media.


What opportunities has being Miss Essex opened up for you?

More than I can ever put into words! Attending events across the country, appearing on Comedy Central’s Your Face or Mine Celebrity Special, appearing on Channel 4’s First Dates, competing at a national level, all of the incredible women I’ve met all over the UK. Constant phone calls and scouting from TV Shows! It is crazy how many doors open for you as Miss Essex, and even the opportunity to direct the current Miss Essex competition all stems from winning the crown.


Is there any stand-out strong female icons that have inspired you along your journey?

My mum is for sure the strongest female icon I know! She has truly mastered the art of being a strong and focused career woman, as well as a mother, while still maintaining femininity and grace. It’s definitely a juggling act, but she makes it all look so easy!


What are some of your responsibilities as regional director of Miss Essex?

There are many responsibilities that come with running the Miss Essex competition. It requires a lot of organizational skills and hard work. Sourcing judges, hair and makeup, working with photographers, organizing press days, press releases, back and forth to the venue to ensure the show runs smoothly! Maintaining relationships with sponsors throughout the competition is easy when they are as amazing as Mellaris!


As the regional director of Miss Essex, how would you respond to people who may view pageants as ‘Out dated’ or glorify a certain image?

Different things empower different women and it’s not anybody’s responsibility, except for her, to tell her what that should be. We have army officers, architectural students, aspirational doctors, mothers, fitness fanatics and entrepreneurs in our competition this year. All of our finalists have been working hard raising funds for White Ribbon UK in memory of Essex Girl Grace Millane. A group of women supporting other women, raising funds for women. Now that’s girl power!
 

Stephanie Hill


How have you dealt with the pressures of ‘looking a certain way’, especially in an age driven by social media?

The various forms of media, including social, really push us to look/be a certain way. Ironically, I thought I had to fit into a certain ‘mould’ to be Miss England, a standard model Size 8, a certain height, ‘look’ etc., however I couldn’t have been more wrong. The wonderful part about Miss England is that even if you look at the previous winners at ‘face value’, no two even look the same. I am one of, if not the ‘largest’ Miss England as a fluctuating UK 12/14, and to this date I have had the highest placing representing England in the Miss World competition, so it proves the misconception of being a Size 8 and a model as being completely false. Miss England helped me accept my size, where the media and social platforms would certainly have me believing otherwise.


What opportunities has being Miss England opened up for you?

My biggest desire has been to travel and complete humanitarian aid throughout the world, but I never wanted to endorse ‘voluntourism’, where you pay a tour company to work with a charity internationally. I was able to work on an incredible project around Asia focusing on Feminine Hygiene Awareness when touring with Miss World, which is very close to home, with my professional background being in cancer research. I am pleased to say we made a huge impact during our time over there, particularly in India, so to have had such success on such a difficult project was astounding. In addition to this, I was able to further develop my side career as a classical crossover vocalist, and even meet incredible academics in the medial field and make fantastic professional networks.


With the knowledge of yourself now, what would you tell yourself when you were entering the competition?

A famous quote from one of my favourite Broadway vocalists, Sierra Boggess.
‘You are enough, you have always been enough. It is unbelievable how enough you are.’

What does this next year entail for you?

Ultimately I will further my career in Cancer Research! I will be completing my master’s degree in Translational Oncology at the University of Sheffield Medical School alongside my position in Cancer Clinical Trials, then I’m hoping to pursue one of the following: a PhD in an Oncology-based project at Cancer Research UK in Manchester, begin the NHS Clinical Scientist Training Programme, or potentially continue my studies as a Physician’s Associate with a hope of specialising in Oncology. It’s wonderful to have so many options, but I can’t decide which one to do first!
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Is there any stand-out strong female icons that have inspired you along your journey?


SO many, and it changes by the week! I am constantly looking for inspiration, but my main inspiration is drawn from my master’s course leader, Carolyn Staton, who has made incredible contributions to cancer research initiatives, it truly is an honour to learn from her teachings. I am also hugely inspired by Audrey Hepburn, not for her influence in fashion, but her relentless dedication to humanitarian efforts despite her success on the silver screen.

 

 
 
Alisha Cowie

Looking back, is there anything you would change, add or takeaway from the competition?

I honestly wouldn’t change my experience for the world. Things happen the way they do for a reason and I’ve become a much stronger and wiser person from the experience.


What advice would you pass onto the future alumni of Miss England?

Go and be yourself, make friends and memories and just enjoy every second. Don’t go into the competition with any expectations and use the time as an experience.


For people who may view pageants as ‘Out dated’ or glorify a certain image over everything else. How would you respond to this?

I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I respect that. However, I think I prove you don’t have to be a stereotype. I was the first ever Miss Newcastle or ‘
Geordie’ to win Miss England and the most northern girl to ever win. I also believe my charity work over the past few years was what bagged me Miss England as is proved I was a good role model for the younger generations to look up to.


With the knowledge of yourself now, what would you tell yourself when you were entering the competition?
You’re stronger than you think. People will challenge you and your patience. Never doubt your abilities.


What does this next year entail for you?
I will be going back to university to finish my degree in Crime Scene Investigation and forensic science. I’ll also be continuing my modeling work, part-time.
 
 
We cherish all of our growing friendships with the many inspiring women within the beauty pageant industry and continue to champion all of their future successes. With our A/W19 collection almost ready for release we look forward to seeing how they adapt our garments to all of their amazing individual styles.
 
-By Kirsty Scott

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