So Holly, tell us more about how you got involved in taking part in beauty pageants; is this your first competition?
No this is not my first competition; however it is my first time running for Miss Dorset so I am rather excited. The winner of Miss Dorset goes on to the Miss World England finals. I previously won Miss Earth Southampton 2011 and therefore competed at the Miss Earth England finals in 2011.
What made you want to get involved in the competition in the first place?
Miss Dorset has an excellent reputation as it has been organised by the same company for many years. I have made friends with lots of girls through pageants and Miss Dorset gives me the opportunity to make new friends from home. The competition has an excellent charitable aspect, for the charity ‘Beauty With a Purpose’ (http://www.beautywithapurpose.com ), which raises money for disadvantaged children worldwide. In 2011 the finalists raised a total of £1467 for Weymouth Lifeboats, which is based in an area very close to my heart.
Many people don’t know the mechanics of pageants and competitions like this. Explain the process; how does it all work?
In the primary rounds girls apply using photos and a form which asks questions such as academic achievements and aspirations. From these entries finalists are chosen who then have to source a business sponsor. My sponsor for the final is primephotography.net. On the day each girl has a private interview round and then the stage final itself. Here we are judged on poise, elegance, intelligence and our suitability to be a good role model and ambassador for the county. The finalists also take part in Miss Charity, by raising money for Weymouth Lifeboats and Miss Popularity through the text vote. The winner of Miss Dorset 2012 will compete in the finals of Miss England 2012, with the winner of Miss England representing our country at Miss World.
What would it mean for you if you won Miss Dorset 2012?
To have the chance to represent Dorset at a national level would be amazing. I believe that I would be a marvellous ambassador to the county and it really would be a dream come true.
Is this something you would like to do professionally once you’ve graduated? If not, what are your plans for the future?
Pageants are an excellent way to gain confidence, make new friends and become confident in public speaking. However in the future I wish to use my geography degree to work within a humanitarian organisation, making a difference in the world and changing it for the better.
What reactions do you get when you mention running for Miss Dorset 2012 to your friends and family?
My family are used to me being in pageants, it was actually my grandmother’s idea that I enter the first one. It is when new friends discover that I am in pageants that the reactions occur. I have never had a negative reaction; most people think that it’s all rather exciting and ask lots of questions.
In all the competitions that I have entered the best thing is by far the camaraderie between the girls; I have never witnessed any cat fights, unlike the stereotypes! Everyone gets on fantastically, helping each other with things like hair, make up and dress fastenings. Being able to dress up in ball gowns and sequins is a girl’s paradise! Pageants have helped me to become more confident, especially with the likes of public speaking. Obviously every girl wants to win the crown, but enjoying the journey is just as important and so much fun too.
Some people stereotype pageants and those who take part (think Miss Congeniality…) What would you say to them?
The current Miss England is studying for a degree in Journalism, Miss England 2010 was studying for a Law degree and Miss England 2009 is a Corporal in the British Army. I have A levels graded A*AA in Geography, History and Classics. The girls that take part in Miss England have to prove that they are not just a pretty face and certainly cannot be classed as idiots. I would ask those that stereotype pageants to come along and meet the girls. Pageants do not cause harm to anyone, raise large sums of money for charity and it really is an excellent way to meet new people from all walks of life.
Pageants do not cause harm to anyone, raise large sums of money for charity and it really is an excellent way to meet new people from all walks of life.
Does taking part affect your university life at all?
No. The pageants usually take place at weekends and I always ensure that a particular competition would not clash. I aim to complete everything to the highest of standards, be it my university work or a pageant and therefore it is vital that if I enter I am able to give 100%.
Do you intend to run in more competitions in the future?
I enjoy pageants immensely and an ambition of mine is to compete in the Miss World England finals, so yes I shall enter more pageants in the future. However the upper age limit is 24 and so I have plenty of time to enjoy competeing and still maintain good grades.
What advice would you give anyone wanting to take part in a similar competition in the future?
I would say to definitely give pageants a chance, it is not all about winning the crown; you will meet lots of new people and create many memories, what is there to lose?
Miss Dorset Finals take place on March 17th at Club Banus in Weymouth
For more information on contestants and events visit