A beauty contest with volunteering
Please explain about the Miss Teen Great Britain contest. How is this contest different from regular beauty pageant competitions?
Miss Teen Great Britain is designed to be a confidence-building, positive experience. It is different from other beauty pageants because the interview gives 50% of the overall score, so the personality of the contestants plays an important part. Before the finals, we also volunteered at various events, and tried to participate actively in the lives of our local communities.
I first entered the contest in 2014 because I didn’t have a really good time in school and I thought entering the competition would be a very good way to build confidence. When I first entered, I learned so much about myself and I met so many amazing people. Because of this, I was really motivated to enter again next year and I wanted to give it my absolute all, and it really payed off. I entered the semifinals in March 2015 and I had to send photos and fill out a questionnaire about my personality so that they could get to know me better. Based on that, 60 girls were selected for the final event in October.
Volunteering is a major part of the competition. How did you choose which events to attend and which organisations to help raising money for?
The organisers encouraged us to engage in our local communities and help as many people as we can. I was keen to make the most of my time as a regional finalist, therefore I tried to do as much as I could to help within my local community. I was pro-active in seeking appearances and offering to help at as many events as I could. In total, I managed to complete 100 appearances!
As a finalist I was raising money for the competition’s chosen charity Together For Short Lives (a national charity supporting children's hospices across the UK). I took part in a sponsored 10km run in London and a 5km run Colour Dash in a local park. I also did a few carboot sales and lots of small fundraisers to reach my total of £2300. Supporting my local children’s hospice, East Anglian Children’s Hospice was also important for me. I attended a lot of events with them to help with fundraising. With my regional title, I really wanted to support as many charities as I could through fundraising or helping them at events. I helped over 20 different organisations, both local and national charities. I plan to continue my hard work throughout my year as Miss Teen Great Britain.
Why would you recommend volunteering to other people?
Because it’s such an amazing experience. You get to meet incredible people along the way. One experience that stands out was helping out in a street kitchen for the homeless. Hearing about their stories really reminded me that you have to be grateful for everything you have.
How could you balance school and volunteering?
In the beginning, it was not so difficult. They announced that I was a finalist on the day of my last exam so I had had plenty of time during the summer holidays. When school started in the autumn, it was harder to find time for homework as I was very busy, I had events to attend every weekend. This made me learn to become very organised and schedule my time well.
What was your most memorable experience during the competition?
There were so many of them. The whole weekend of the finals was very special. It was such an amazing moment when they announced me the winner. I could not stop crying, I was so happy that all my work payed off. I met so many incredible people that I still keep in touch with today.
What was the hardest part of the competition?
The interview during the finals. There are so many judges, you don’t have control over the situation and never know what they are going to ask you. They mainly asked about what I have done during my time, how I found so many appearances and how I raised so much money. They also asked what I would do if I won and what I would do if I lost. In the end, I won the „Best in Interview” award which made me feel very proud. I am not exactly sure why I won, I didn’t see the others. Maybe I won because when I went into the room I was confident in myself, I was myself and I just enjoyed myself. We had a good time with the judges, we were laughing and smiling a lot.
Would you encourage girls to enter the Miss Teen Great Britain Competition?
Yes, definitely. It helped me a lot to build confidence. Before I entered, I found it really hard to talk to people. Volunteering, modelling and attending events all helped me to have more confidence in myself. I had to talk and cooperate with a lot of people. During the contest, the teambuilding activities were really useful as well, it made it easier to get to know each other. I formed friendships with girls from all over the country.
Written and translated by Krisztina Tóth.