Interview with Miss U.K. 1999 – Nikki Willoughby
Nikki when she was crowned Miss United Kingdom
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions about your pageant journey for my pageant lockdown blog. It’s amazing getting to know past and present queens from across the globe.
How does it feel to be the last woman to compete at Miss World as Miss U.K ?
Now separate Queen’s are sent from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with the highest placing contestant being crowned Miss U.K.
It’s great! Fantastic a part of history. Miss UK was and is the most prestigious title to win in the UK now Miss England. I won with over 37,500 entries which was amazing not many can say that.
Are you glad you competed individually or would of you preferred to have gone to Miss World as part of a team ?
To be honest I didn’t really think about it, I just enjoyed the journey.
What was it like when you competed in Miss U.K. and Miss World ?
Amazing I fell into this completely by accident so was a whirl wind but a great one. I made some great friends who I still see and message today.
What was the best part of competing in Miss U.K. and Miss World ?
The best part was the winning hearing your name called (and the £30,000 prize money) laughs: but just performing and being out of my comfort zone I learnt a lot.
Pageants are a community and we often make life long friends. Do you keep in touch with any of your fellow pageant queens?
YES! we are currently organising a reunion with contestants from the Miss World 99 how fab is that. We have a group on what’s app and keep in touch daily.
Over the last 20 years the Miss U.K. competition has changed dramatically do you feel the competition has improved over the years ?
It did not need to improve but more move with the times which it has.
You are now a CoOrganiser of the Lincolnshire Miss England Heat how does it feel to be on the other side of pageants ?
Love being this side of the line. After winning Miss UK I had an offer to represent the UK in the Miss Universe 2000 held in Japan I declined I had done my bit and competed in the Miss World the most famous pageant ever! I watched as a child but never thought I would do it. I signed with a London model agency and Manchester and came away.
What would your ideal winner of your Miss England heat be ?
Someone with a good spark that shines personality is key. NATURAL and happy in herself. Embracing their uniqueness.
Do you have any advice for future pageant queens ?
Be yourself and use your crown for good deeds too. And enjoy your title keep level headed.
The Miss England contest has had a crown some finalists virtually due to COVID19 is this the case for any of your heats and how do you feel about virtual crowning ?
At the moment we have just changed out dates tbc but if you have to take this route so be it. But virtual crowning hasn’t got the personal touch.
A lot of pageants have had to postpone and even cancel this years National and International Finals do you think that pageants will recover after the lockdown or do you think some systems will cease ?
I think they shall recover fine as all things will in time.
There are more and more pageants in the U.K. than ever before allowing women of all ages and marital status to compete. Would you ever compete again ?
I am actually taking part in something at the moment I can’t disclose all the details but it’s modelling for a very well known publication front cover hopefully. I shall never say never but not at this moment.
There was a bit of controversy during your title regarding topless images how did you handle that?
Considering I was favourite to win and I was only 18yrs old with the press hounding me, I handled it very well I think. Its a lot of pressure at 18 having that happen.
You are now an NHS worker how are you coping during the pandemic ?
I am coping really well. Its mentally and physically challenging and no day is the same. But I adore my work and I get paid for doing something I love. I am very lucky and always re-charge and focus my energy in a positive way.
Instagram – nikkiqueen14uk
Twitter – @WilloughbyNikki
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions about your pageant journey from being a contestant to now a co-director. It’s been lovely reading your answers and thank you for your hard work as an NHS Worker during this pandemic, they isn’t enough thank you’s to express my gratitude to you and all the other NHS and Keyworkers in the U.K.