Interview with Freya Taylor – Pageant Girl UK’s Scottish Representative for 2019
Freya’s crowing moment Copyright Brian Hayes Photography
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 ?
Freya Taylor, 28, Pageant Girl UK’s Scottish Rep for 2019
What made you enter pageants ?
I first came across pageants in 2012 when I worked at Disneyland Paris. I entered my first one in 2013 purely for the fun of it and quickly became addicted. 7 years later I think it’s safe to say I’m sticking around.
Can you tell us about your journey so far ?
I have been competing for nearly 8 years, starting as Face of Glasgow 2013. I competed in Miss Intercontinental/International in 2014 and have been a regular in the Galaxy system coming 1st Runner Up to Miss Galaxy Scotland in both 2016 and 2017. After a year’s break I returned and won the title of Miss Inspiration UK 2018 and then went onto win my Scottish title at the 2019 UK Power Pageant.
What made you decide to compete in the Pageant Girl U.K. System ?
After competing 4 times previously under the Pageant Girl UK organisation and being awarded one of their ‘Beautifully Inspiring Ambassador’ titles in 2018, it became my goal to be part of the PGUK family as I had always had such a good experience and if I was lucky enough to compete internationally, I knew that I wanted it to be with that organisation.
What the best thing that pageants have taught you?
That there is no point in trying to please everyone because it can’t be done and to just be yourself and stay true to what you believe in. Be unshakable in your ‘why’ and don’t let anyone cause you to doubt yourself.
What’s your pageant platform and why ?
I don’t have a platform and that’s ok. I have supported many charities throughout my time in pageantry, most notably the Make-A-Wish Foundation for whom I have raised over £15,000. There are many campaigns and causes that I feel strongly about that I support as well as communities. I don’t feel it’s necessary to have one specific platform in order to make a difference and I don’t like feeling like I’m restricted. I have never been comfortable with the idea of going out of my way to find or create a platform just for the sake of saying I have one, I like to be authentic in where my support goes.
What’s your dream title?
For many years my dream was Miss Galaxy Scotland. That is a dream that will never come true but I would absolutely adore that chance to represent Holly and the Pageantgirl UK organisation the way I had planned to this year before we hit all the obstacles that we did. I was lucky enough to win Miss Inspiration UK which is a system that I had wanted to represent for a long time. Timing was everything with Inspiration and that title will always be close to my heart as it’s when everything really fell into place.
What was it like winning the Miss Grand Scotland title ?
Freya and her stunning crown
Winning Miss Grand Scotland was exciting but bittersweet because while I have always dreamed of representing Scotland, and under Holly’s direction, I knew that the chances of that actually happening were slim to none as far as Miss Grand International went. With the International organisations decision to hold the finals in Venezuela (a country that is currently in the midst of a civil war) came the decision that no pageant was worth the risk to our lives. People may argue that it’s a reflection of their “stop the war and violence” motto, but I fully believe there is a shadier reason to the Venezuela decision than that; and travelling to an extremely corrupt country was not a risk we were willing to take for the sake of a crown. I was lucky enough to represent my country in Mexico at a different competition, the name of which I don’t wish to advertise, as that didn’t go to plan either. Upon my return to Scotland, I made a public statement that I would no longer be wearing my sash and would continue my reign with my crown only. I had planned to make the most of the last few months of my reign as one of the PGUK Queens and then Covid and lockdown hit so I’ve not been able to do much else which is wildly disappointing. To have the opportunity to represent PGUK the way I wanted to originally would mean the world to me as the organisation been such a huge part of my life this far. I’d also love to give back for the support that I’ve had this year so we’ll see what the future holds.
What’s the best advice you have for fellow pageant queens?
It would have to be something that I heard from NokySimbani, Miss Grand England 2017, and she promised herself that she wouldn’t end her reign with any insecurities that she didn’t have at the start of it. Everyone will have an opinion on you, your decisions, your social media presence etc; but the most important thing is to do what makes you happy. Don’t force yourself to do anything you’re uncomfortable with just because others are doing it. If you love a particular outfit, don’t compromise that just because someone else doesn’t like it. If there’s a campaign going around that doesn’t resonate with you or you don’t agree with, don’t feel obliged to get on board. This is your journey and at the end of it you should be able to look back and be happy with every decision you made. Don’t try to fit a mold because, speaking from experience, there isn’t one.
What have you been doing since you won ?
Freya in her National Costume
As I mentioned previously, my year has been a bit of a roller coaster so between appearances, there’s been a lot of behind the scenes conversations and I’ve spent a lot of time forming a crazy strong bond with my director and sister queens. In the run up to Internationals, I got very creative in putting my national costume together which I absolutely adored; and I’ve been just as creative in preparation for handover in terms of my evening gown.
What’s your favourite ever appearance ?
I always love making appearances in Pageant Land because it’s great being able to catch up with everyone and just live our best pageant life for a few days. If I had to choose one out of all the appearances I’ve ever done though, it would have to be getting the opportunity to judge the 2018 UK Power Pageant. I felt so honoured to have been given that chance and it was definitely a ‘pinch me’ moment.
How has the lockdown due to Covid19 affected your pageant journey?
Lockdown has essentially ground my reign to a halt. I have been in constant contact with my sister queens which has been fab and I’ve loved being able to chat with my little sister from Lauren Parkinson’s little sister project. All of the appearances I had planned ahead of handover were cancelled so I’ve just used the time to concentrate on handover prep and finalising my speech etc.
Has your reign been extended due to Covid19 ?
Only by 6 weeks but I think lockdown will still be in place up until very close to the date.
What makes a good pageant role model ?
I massively respect a Queen who has opinions and speaks their mind. I believe that the point of a Queen is to make a difference so I much prefer girls with substance to girls who sit on the fence and have no real drive to make a change or impact. Anyone who has read my ‘Freya In A Crown’ blog knows that I am a firm believer in honesty being the best policy and I would say that a real role model should be honest and vocal yet approachable and compassionate.
What’s your favourite pageant round ?
As a dancer, I love the exhilaration of the opening round. In terms of judged rounds though I’d probably say swimwear because you have literally nothing to hide behind so it’s a great adrenalin rush. You have no choice but to give it your all and I just find it great fun.
How do you deal with pageant nerves ?
I think time has calmed my nerves a lot. I have grown up on stage so the stage portion of pageantry has never phased me, put me in an interview room though and I feel ill. No matter how many times I wait to go into interview, I don’t think the nerves will ever go away but experience has definitely helped calm them slightly.
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