Interview with Lauren Watson – Miss Intercontinental U.K. 2020 Finalist
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.
What made you enter pageants?
My interest in pageants started when I saw an ad on social media for Miss Edinburgh and I thought why not enter and try something new. Pageants were something that were completely out of my comfort zone; however, I am an open-minded person and I am always up for trying something new, so I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I am all for building self-confidence and learning to love the person that I am, and I feel that pageants are a great way of improving this through the empowering nature that pageantry brings and the sisterhood that is created. I also thought it would be an amazing opportunity to work with and raise money and awareness for inspiring charities.
Can you tell us about your pageant journey?
My first pageant was Miss Edinburgh which took place in November 2019 – I loved the whole experience and from there I got the pageant bug. I was inspired by so many pageant girls, which led me to apply for Miss Intercontinental UK at the end of 2019. I am so grateful that I have now been given the opportunity of being a Miss Intercontinental UK finalist representing Edinburgh. I am looking forward to the year ahead and to continue to plan exciting ideas in the run up to the final.
What made you decide to compete in Miss Intercontinental U.K. ?
Finding a system that represented me as a person and my values was important. I was drawn to the ethos that Miss Intercontinental UK has by celebrating diversity in beauty and promoting women of power and grace, commitment, intelligence, style and substance. Another contributing factor of entering my current system was that the main charity that this system focuses on is Women’s Aid. This charity provides life-saving services for women and children who are experiencing or escaping from domestic violence. Knowing that I can help and support other women through fundraising is a blessing.
What the best thing that pageants have taught you ?
I have learnt a lot throughout my pageant journey so far and it has taught me a lot about myself. One of the most valuable lessons that I have learnt is to believe in myself and to never give up on a goal or dream. Pageants have given me the confidence and shown the importance of speaking up and using my voice. Not only have I learnt skills to use in pageantry, but I have developed a wide range of skills for future endeavours such as public speaking, interview skills and fundamentally building on my own self-confidence. Pageants have really highlighted that women truly do support women; the encouragement and continuous support is incredible!
What’s your pageant platform and why?
My pageant platform is Lupus Awareness, which is a charity very close to my heart. Lupus is a condition which is not known by many as it is considered as an invisible illness as there is not many visible signs.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body system attacks it’s own tissue and organs. This is because the immune system produces far too many antibodies. This inflammation can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, heart and the brain. Diagnosing Lupus is often difficult as its symptoms mimic other common ailments. However, a major indicator of this condition is a facial rash that resemble the wings of a butterfly. Other symptoms include; joint pain, fevers, memory loss, shortness of breath and fatigue. There is currently no cure for Lupus, but the symptoms can often be treated with medicines that reduce inflammation in your body.
I want to use this platform to help raise global awareness of Lupus to increase understanding and support for those affected by this unprecedented life-changing autoimmune disease.
What’s your dream title?
My dream title would be to win Miss Intercontinental UK.
If you were to win Miss Intercontinental U.K. what would it mean to you?
To win Miss Intercontinental UK would mean the world to me. It would be a massive achievement and a privilege to represent my country at an international level. It would highlight that all of my hard work has all paid off. Having the opportunity to promote my platform at a larger audience would be amazing!
What’s the best advice you have for fellow pageant queens?
Always be YOU! Remind yourself why you are competing, and do not doubt your own abilities. You are your only competition, so don’t compare yourself to other people and you will shine!
What have you been doing in the run up to the final of Miss Intercontinental U.K. ?
In the run up to the final I have been preparing as much as I can, as well as raising money for Women’s aid, and promoting my platform, Lupus.
Just before the lockdown I volunteered to help my local community council to make the community aware of the ongoing situation with covid-19. A leaflet was developed and distributed by us in the aim to help everyone in the community and to provide important information and help if needed by the volunteers.
One fun online challenge I took part in was called ‘Messy4mind’ which was set up to raise awareness for mental health, fundraising for the charity Mind. The main idea behind this challenge is that mental health and depression can be highlighted by some as an “invisible illness” but getting messy with gunge we can see that the stigma exists.
How has the lockdown due to COVID19 effected your pageant journey?
Despite covid-19 putting a hold on attending public events and doing face-to-face appearances, I have been trying to be as active as I can be online. Miss Intercontinental UK director, Lilly Rogan has been working so hard to ensure that all of us finalists have the best experience despite the difficult situation. For every negative there is a positive, and I am using this time as an advantage toplan exciting fundraising ideas and appearances in the run up to the final. It is amazing to see so many pageant girls supporting each other throughout these challenging times.
What makes a good pageant role model?
A good pageant role model is being true to yourself. It is someone who uses their voice to impact positive changes, and to stand up to what they believe in. It is important to use the pageant and platform in a positive way towards the greater good, as well as being actively involved in the community and committed to reaching their goals. Fundamentally, someone who is a positive influence, passionate about their chosen platform and, supports and empowers other women.
What’s your favourite pageant round?
All rounds during a pageant are a great way to express different sides of your personality to the judges, which makes it difficult to decide. Before taking part in my first pageant I was most apprenhensive about the swimwear round, but I feel that my confidence has grown since being on the stage. However, my favourite round would have to be evening wear. This round is all about elegance and sophistication – plus you get the opportunity to wear beautiful dresses!
How do you deal with pageant nerves?
When it comes to pageant nerves I try to stay in the moment as much as I can to keep my nerves under control. Reminding myself of how far I have come and what I have achieved helps calm my nerves. Feeling nervous before a pageant is natural, and it can also be seen as a positive as nervous energy can fuel your performance and confidence. Having a big smile on my face and enjoying every moment is the best way I feel overcomes mypageant nerves.
How can we follow your journey?
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions about your pageant journey it’s been lovely getting to know you and your platform I wish you all the best at the final of Miss Intercontinental U.K. much love, Charlotte Ms Diamond South Yorkshire 2020.