Author: Jessica Ingham

EXCLUSIVE

The beauty pageant: breaking stigma and stereotypes

Jessica Ingham

When you think of beauty pageants you might think of ball gowns, glitz, and glamour. You might think of a competition like ‘Miss World’ in bygone days. You might think of the objectification of women. However, good or bad, the beauty pageant and the beauty queen are still something that are very much alive nowadays.
I recently had the opportunity of interviewing Harriotte Lane, Miss International UK 2019/2020 and it was interesting to hear what she had to say.
Harriotte is the only contestant to have won the crown in three divisions. She is also the only coach to hold this record.
Tell us about yourself?
Harriotte told me that she has been competing in pageants for eight years. It is her sole passion. She is a full time pageant coach and is dedicated to helping others achieve their dreams.
She said: “ I love being a pageant girl and have been blessed with so many opportunities to travel the globe such as the Miss International Global finals which were held in Japan. I have also been to Indonesia and America through the pageant systems alone.”
Let’s talk platforms.
Harriet’s passion is evident.
“My platform centres around pageantry and inspiring others to reach their potential. I wanted to create a community for girls getting into pageantry and support them on their journey where they can grow and learn new things.
“I have had a community for over seven years on my social media and started by doing one off coaching… The Crown Coach was born in 2019… I have really invested into my community and pageants and wanted to bring these together to help others.
What is Crown Camp and how can it help when preparing a pageant?
“Even if you are not taking part in a pageant the experience is so beneficial for everyone/ It caters for people 12+ and is an amazing opportunity to make friends and gain confidence. I have camps for different ages depending on which division for example Teen and Miss.
“The camp is designed to build up your confidence and gain valuable coaching as well as getting to experience and learn what pageants are all about. It is also a way for girls from different pageant systems to learn about each other and prepare without the added stress of the competition. Its sort of like a dress rehearsal before you step on the stage for real.
“Crown camp is a two-night stay in a beautiful mansion, on arrival you receive an amazing goody bag filled with crown coach merchandise. Throughout the experience you also have the opportunity to have a photo shoot with one of the best pageant photographers in the industry, Charlotte Clemmie.
“During the two days stay we also host a Pink Party where it is totally pink themed, and everyone dresses up to match the theme. This year we have even got a pink themed room. We also host a PJ party.”
Tell us about the good and the bad?
“I think when you are starting out the most daunting thing can be the fear of how you are going to be treated and all the preparation that comes with being a contestant.
“I want to put your mind at ease by letting you know pageants are based on sisterhood and empowerment. All the girls are super supportive. You literally make friends for life. You are going to gain confidence, experience and life skills as well as being exposed to amazing opportunities. There is no negativity.
“In my experience the best things about pageants are the opportunities to travel… I have also been able to step into modelling and presenting through being an ambassador for Miss International. I have made lifelong friends and dare say I have a friend in every part of the world. It is truly amazing.
“I have also had some big names sponsor me such as BMW and was given a beautiful car that was branded with my name and title. I was sponsored by Naz, an amazing designer, who has created some of the most beautiful ball gowns that I and other queens have worn.”
Harriotte’s advice is to never give up… Be persistent and follow your dreams. She advises everyone to prepare and research so that they can succeed.
Is it all glitz and glam?
The girls, women and men who compete in these pageants work hard all year-round fundraising, running campaigns, modelling, presenting, creating awareness alongside their normal jobs and hobbies. They demonstrate their dedication and showcase all their achievements while promoting a healthy active lifestyle.
Pageant opportunities
Pageants are broken into divisions and many people can be crowned at the grand finals. These typically include Miss, Mrs, Ms, Little Miss, Miss Pre-Teen and so on. This means individuals of all ages can be given the opportunity to shine and gain sponsorship from celebrities, fashion designers and more.
This also allows people from different backgrounds to come together and compete nationally. Every year someone gets to take home a crown to their hometown or city. This is a tremendous achievement and contestants are often featured in local, regional, and national newspapers; and when the opportunity arises even international. Many queens have gone on to have successful careers in parliament, government, fashion, business and have become role models and ambassadors making a real difference in their community.
Inspiration and empowerment
Many contestants have come from backgrounds where they have been abused or exploited. They can use this as their platform to create awareness and help others who have suffered similar traumas. They are very inspirational people.
There is also a wonderful community that can be found in every pageant system. This means endless support and friendship. Most queens feel as though they create and maintain lifelong friendships and bonds that fill them with confidence. Empowerment is one of the main things someone can take from a pageant.
Pageants for everyone
There are pageants for everyone whether that be tattoo fanatics, plus size, male, and children. There are transgender females who have won competitions too.

Women in a ‘man’s world’
When beauty pageants where first starting, they were traditionally looking for physical attributes from their contestants. At that time women were seen as objects of desire and men had the money to fund these events. As women have broken their silence and gained more responsibility in a ‘mans world’, we have developed careers, businesses and overall, our dreams that were shunned for centuries. We are allowed to be individual and daring and pageants are a clear example of women developing over the past century alone.
In a world where people are developing and working on themselves like never in history, pageants can shape the way for women who are trying to make it in the world. It is a chance to showcase achievements and gain help in any ventures to improve their career and passions. We celebrate change and growth. Pageants are about empowerment, success and beauty with a purpose. ”

Mind, the mental health charity and how it can help

Jessica Ingham

Mind is a charity that provides advice and support to help people who experience mental health issues. They run amazing campaigns to improve services, create awareness and education in relation to mental health. They have a positive and caring community and strive on helping the people who access them. They are active on social media sharing success stories, campaigns and advertising their services.