Interview with Anouska Black – Royal International Ms United Kingdom
Firstly thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions about your pageant journey for my pageant lockdown blog it’s lovely getting to know fellow pageant queens and more about the systems that they represent.
Can you introduce yourself ?
My name is Anouska Black, I am 30 years old, from Northern Ireland and the reigning Royal International Ms. United Kingdom.
What made you enter pageants ?
Originally I thought the first pageant I entered was a modelling competition, so I had no idea what I was getting involved in. After recovering from my third surgery for endometriosis I needed something positive to look forward to and work towards as well as searching for a confidence boost and looking to meeting new people. I absolutely loved stepping on that stage and caught the pageant bug immediately.
Can you tell us about your journey so far ?
I have competed in three systems, FOEW, Crown & Glory, and Royal International Miss UK. I have placed in all competitions and won four titles in total whilst directing three pageants in between competing. Face of Northern Ireland 2RU 2015 Face of UK Photographic 2015 Face of Europe & the World Top 10 2015 Face of UK Photographic, Face of Northern Ireland and Miss Northern Irish Beauty Director 2016-18 Ms Crown & Glory Ireland 2018 Ms Crown & Glory UK 2018-19 Royal International Ms United Kingdom 2020-21
What made you decide to compete in the RIM System ?
After holding a UK national title I felt it was the next natural step for me to compete in another UK competition but which led to an international opportunity. There aren’t any pageants that I am eligible for here in Northern Ireland so I decided to fly over to compete in the mainland. I loved the pageants ethos, the sisterhood and fact you can choose your own platform.
What the best thing that pageants have taught you ?
Pageants have taught me to believe in myself more and to dedicate myself to those goals I wish to achieve. Looking back my life has went in a completely different direction to what I had planned and I wouldn’t change a minute of it. I have new friends and family and memories that will stay with me forever.
What’s your pageant platform and why ?
My pageant platform is for endometriosis. I was diagnosed over a decade ago and there really isn’t enough awareness, funds or knowledge surrounding this debilitating disease and I hope to change that. 1 in 10 women of reproductive age live with endometriosis with an average diagnosis time of 8 years. I was very lucky to be diagnosed so quickly and so young, but I had no idea that one word would completely change ever aspect of my life. I hope to help all those women suffering providing advice, support, raising awareness and funds so there is more help out there for not just the women, but their partners, families and friends too, as having that support and understanding is vital to your physical and mental wellbeing.
What’s your dream title ?
It has to be winning Royal International Ms.
What was it like winning Royal International Ms United Kingdom ?
Winning Ms. United Kingdom was an absolute dream come true. I could not believe it at all! My winners photos are amazing because you can actually see my shock and emotion in my whole being. I am the ugliest crier in the entire world, I’m so glad I have those memories to keep forever. As my family could not travel over with me it was so amazing that so many pageant girls came from all over the UK especially to support and cheer for me! It made me feel even more confident on stage and made winning so special that I had done them all proud.
What’s the best advice you have for fellow pageant queens ?
The best advice I could give to fellow pageant queens would be to continue to work as if you are still competing. Do not relax your hard work because you have won. Keep your social media appropriate as if judges are still watching, you never ever know what your destiny has in store for you so your reign is just as important as your reputation will proceed you if deciding to compete again. As you are a role model so many other other girls it is important they can look up to you and want emulate your success.
What have you been doing since you won Royal International Ms United Kingdom ?
Since winning Ms. United Kingdom I have been preparing for internationals and doing what I can to increase pageant morale, especially here in Northern Ireland. I am also taking part in The Pageant Mentor scheme and mentoring two amazing young ladies for their competitions whilst judging loads on online pageants and photo competitions. As my plans and fundraising have been haulted due to the virus I am pleased to say my main energy has went to relaunching our ENDOvisible social media platforms providing support for those in need while living with endometriosis – which is vitally important at the moment with doctor and hospital appointmemnts postponed. Looking towards the future I am excited about all the opportunities ahead of me.
Favourite ever appearance ?
My favourite appearance has to be attending the Miss World grand final in London last year. To meet up with so many pageant queens from across the UK was lovely. Being in Northern Ireland means I don’t get to attend as many events as I’d like to. The atmosphere was truly amazing. I never, ever thought I would be lucky enough to see a Miss World crowned right in front of my eyes. I also loved seeing the whole production and viewing the national costumes from across the world seeing all the different cultures and how they differ from ours. It was an experience I shall cherish forever.
How has the lockdown due to Covid19 affected your pageant journey ?
Unfortunately I was in isolation for almost 2 weeks before the official lockdown started as I had a viral infection, so I was only able to make a handful of appearances after winning at the end of February. The pandemic has thrown alot of my plans out the window, however I have used the opportunity to increase my social media presence. I believe that there is no such thing as a problem, it is purely an opportunity in disguise, so I have been using my time to plan and prepare for life after lockdown and making my plans even bigger and better.
What makes a good pageant role model ?
I believe a good role model should conduct themselves with grace and dignity, especially on their social media and at events and appearances. When you are wearing that crown and sash you are not just representing yourself but the whole brand. Be someone others can look up to and be inspired by whilst leaving an amazing legacy behind you.
What’s your favourite pageant round ?
My favourite round has to be evening wear. I think every girl loves dressing up and in evening wear you are able to feel like a true princess and enjoy every second on stage. I also love evening wear music as it is usually so peaceful, emotional and meaningful. There is something special about knowing that is the last time you will be on stage and all the mo ths of hard work have paid off and led you to that moment to shine.
How do you deal with pageant nerves ?
Oh my goodness I was the worst finalist for nerves in previous competitions, but I was much more nervous handing over my previous title as I was so emotional. This year I was actually so much more relaxed as I never thought I had a chance of winning with so many amazing young women in my category, so I just tried to enjoy the day as much as I could. Strangely I think the most important thing is to find the right amount if preparation for you. Working hard to the best of your ability and learning not to compare yourself to others is esessential. Do not put yourself under too much pressure as I think it takes the fun away from the final. Prepare slowly and steadily throughout your finalist journey but dont be too rehearsed. I think if you feel confident and prepared then you can relax more and your true personality will shine through.
Social Media Links
Endo Fb – ENDOvisible Insta – @endovisible2.0
Pageant Fb – Royal International Ms United Kingdom – Anouska Insta @royalintmsuk
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions it’s been lovely getting to know you and your platform more. I wish you all the best at International much love Charlotte, Ms Diamond South Yorkshire 2020.