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Interview with Miss Sovereign Staffordshire Moorlands – Keely-Elise Ray

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 know fellow pageant queens and more about the systems that they represent.

What made you enter pageants ?

I haven’t always been confident in myself for a number of different reasons, and when I first decided to enter the world of pageantry it really did boost my confidence and gave me something to focus on and look forward to, as well as the fact that I made so many amazing, supportive friends and a big self-esteem lift as well. All of these reasons have been why I’ve loved following pageants since then, seeing all these beautiful and amazing girls succeed, and I now feel like I’m in the right space to get back into pageantry for good and to put my all into it, raising money for amazing charities, spreading awareness of causes that mean a lot to me and also boosting my confidence and generally feeling good about myself, which is what pageants help to do!

Can you tell us about your pageant journey so far?

I entered Miss Prom Supermodel which was a local pageant to me a couple of years ago, I competed as a shy and nervous girl who then gained so much confidence and lifelong friends from the pageant!

The pageant really made me feel great in myself and supported, it really had an amazing community feel to it and I think that’s what made me fall in love with it the most. Everyone was so supportive and since following the girls from the pageant it’s so amazing and empowering to see them all do so well, this is why I wanted to get back into it for good and have that incredible feeling again of self-love and empowerment.

What made you decide to compete in Miss Sovereign?

I’ve wanted to enter Miss Sovereign for a while now and unfortunately due to other commitments I wasn’t able to compete last year, but I believe that everything happens for a reason, as this year I feel ready than ever and I’m really in the right space for the pageant; I absolutely love the Sovereign Pageant System because not only are the directors the most supportive and friendly, kindest ladies, but it’s also for an amazing cause, all about raising money for a local charity close to us that does such amazing work – Caudwell Children. This pageant system is all about self-love, supporting one another and just doing great things for the community, and like I said I love the community feel that this system represents and everything it stands for too, about being yourself and being confident in who you are.

What the best thing that pageants have taught you ?

Pageants have so far taught me that there are so many girls with a story and a past, who have come out stronger than ever, and I feel like I can truly relate to this because I’ve also been through my struggles and pageantry is such a great way to lift yourself up, be confident and be proud of who you are! I love the rewarding feeling of knowing that you are going out there and making a difference to your community whilst empowering and supporting other girls from not just around you, but all over the country! I love the friendships pageantry creates and how great not only the night but also the run up to the finals can make you feel. I’ve had the pageant blues since competing in Miss Prom!

What’s your pageant platform and why ?

I personally love to advocate for mental health and the importance of knowing that it’s okay not to be okay, I currently have an online campaign I am starting as Miss Sovereign Staffordshire Moorlands called ‘Reasons 2B Happy’, I love getting involved in these mental health awareness campaigns because I believe that everybody needs to know that there is help and support out there and that they are not alone. I have a lot of experience with Younger Minds and think that they do great things for younger people who may be overwhelmed with their feelings and need that outlet to lean on for emotional support.

What’s your dream title ?

Honestly there’s nothing I’d love more than to win the title of Miss Sovereign GB :l

Aside from this, thinking outside of the picture I’d absolutely love to go on to Miss Great Britain in the far far future, when I feel ready enough!

If you were to win what would it mean to you ?

If I were to win, this would honestly mean so much to me because as someone who has struggled with their confidence and mental health in the past, it would just show that you can truly come out the other side better than ever, and I would be really proud of the journey that I’ve made and the progress in my self-esteem. Not only would I be incredibly proud of myself but also to have my family and loved ones be proud of me as well and to make them see how much I’ve developed into the person I am today, would be enough. I’d also love to be a great ambassador for the system and use my title to spread the amazing work that Miss Sovereign do and stand for.

What’s the best advice you have for fellow pageant queens ?

My advice would be to just go for it – if you have any doubts in yourself, please please just ignore them! You are beautiful and you have your own amazing qualities, you will make so many amazing friends, amazing memories and your confidence will be lifted in so many different ways, just enjoy the experience because that is the most important thing, that you have fun and enjoy the moment.

What have you been doing in the run up to Miss Sovereign GB ?

I have been doing a lot of online appearances, from online campaigns to interviews and raffles! I am raffling off my beautiful prom gown from The Prom Dressing Room, which has raised a lot of money so far for the charity Caudwell Children, I have also been getting involved in a lot of online raffles and campaigns! I’ve also had an interview with the YMI SpokesModel Hannah Golding on her Queen Chats Channel, where I discussed my mental health journey and offered advice to those who may need it. I have also been delivering essentials and activities to the elderly in my area; as during lockdown it’s hard for them to get out and about, so this was really rewarding.

What’s your favourite ever appearance ?

My favourite appearance so far has to be my Queen Chats Interview with Hannah! I got to completely open up about my mental health journey and give advice to anybody who is feeling the same, or just needs a reminder that they aren’t alone. I also really enjoyed my VE day appearance where I went around to some elderly neighbourhoods and offered to do their gardening/de-weeding, whilst they all enjoyed the ‘Street Party From Home’.

How has the lockdown due to COVID19 effected your pageant journey ?

It has firstly affected my pageant journey as it has delayed my sash and shirt! This of course doesn’t matter, I have still been able to get out and raise awareness of campaigns on my platforms and also I’ve still been able to go ahead with my appearances, but of course my appearances are also very restricted at the moment in the sense that I’m not able to actually get out there and help as many people as I’d like to; I have been doing lots of online campaigns and getting involved socially, I’ve also been able to offer door to door services by dropping off essentials etc, but I haven’t been able to go and help out at local animal shelters etc, which is what I had planned to do originally. The most important thing is to stay safe and keep everybody else safe, too.

What makes a good pageant role model ?

I believe that a good pageant role model is somebody who is very sociable, kind hearted and passionate about what they do. I have always admired a lot of people in pageantry, and I love following their journeys and seeing what amazing things they are doing in the community; I believe that a good role model is somebody who stands for what they believe in, and also is very approachable and positive, not just about the system but about life.

What’s your favourite pageant round ?

My favourite pageant round has got to be evening wear, as much as I love the fashion round and the opportunity to be able to express yourself with a quirky outfit, I think there’s nothing better than being able to feel really elegant and beautiful by showing off an amazing gown for the final round!

How do you deal with pageant nerves ?

Personally, I practise as much as I can to try and eliminate nerves as much as possible! I would say to just stay calm and take things slow, have that support around you, talk to your pageant sisters so that you can help each other and give each other that support and to take your mind off those nerves. Take deep breathes and just enjoy the moment whilst it’s there!

It’s been lovely reading your answers, I’m glad you feel in the right mind set to enter pageants again, I wish you all the success at the Miss Sovereign GB final. Much love Charlotte, Ms Diamond South Yorkshire 2020.

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