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Interview with Ms Natural Beauty England – Nicole Harris

Firstly thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions about your pageant journey. It’s great getting to know fellow pageant queens and more about the systems that they represent.

What made you enter pageants ?

At the age of 12, I was elected as part of the Kent Youth County Council and UK Youth Parliament. As part of this, I got to meet with MPs and help make decisions that would affect the lives of young people in our country. I even got to launch a personal safety campaign, ‘Don’t be harmed, be alarmed’ that I had the original idea for after being flashed on the way home from school.

I love representing my county and trying to make a difference but found politics wasn’t really for me as my heart was in the performing arts. In 2006, I entered my local carnival queen competition and won the overall title of Miss Sheppey. I got to attend over 100 events in Kent that year and I loved it so much that once my reign was over, I just had to enter something else. That’s when I joined pageantry which has given me the chance to use what I learnt as part of the youth council and my performing background.

You have competed before, can you tell us about your journey and your previous titles ?

Having been in pageantry for 14 years now, I’ve learnt a lot along the way. I used to think that I could just walk out on the stage and wing it but I’ve learnt that preparation really is key. During my journey, I have entered pageants that just weren’t right for me but I found this has really helped me to know what I want from a system and also what I can give.

My previous title are:

2006 – Miss Sheppey 2007 – UK Carnival Queen 2007 – Court of Kent Princess 2007 – Miss European Team England 2009 – Miss Beauty Queen – 5th place 2010 – Miss Beauty Queen – 2nd Runner Up 2011 – Miss Galaxy Scotland – 4th runner up 2011 – Miss Beauty Queen – 1st Runner Up 2012–United Kingdom’s Perfect Ambassador 2013 – Europe’s Perfect Ambassador 2014 – Miss European Tourism Scotland 2014 – Face of the Globe Talent Winner 2014 – Miss UK Dreams Midland Heat – High Point Winner 2015 – Miss UK Dreams – 2nd Runner Up 2015 – Miss UK Beautiful – 2nd Runner Up 2015 – Ms British Beauty Queen – Princess 2016 – Ms UK Beautiful – 1st Runner Up 2017 – Ms Petite UK which was changed to Ms Elite Global Earth 2017 – Ms Elite Global Earth International 2018 – Miss European Beauty 2019 – Ms Natural Beauty England

What made you decide to compete in the MGGB/MEB System ?

I entered Miss Great British Beauty/Miss European Beauty after the system I held the International title for closed without warning.

I felt like my dream had been taken away and I didn’t get to finish my reign in the way I had always hoped. Therefore, I chose to enter MGGB/MEB to become part of a pageant family again and to hopefully hold a UK based title that I could work hard with and enjoy pageantry again.

When I ended up winning the overall title, I was overjoyed as this meant I would also be given the opportunity to progress into the Natural Beauty International System and compete internationally again.

What the best thing that pageants have taught you (if applicable) ? Pageants have taught me a lot along the way but mainly that anyone can have an impact on the world and make a change if they want to.

What’s your pageant platform and why ?

My platform is ‘refusing to ignore those in crisis’. This is the motto of the British Red Cross, a charity I have supported for a number of years after being affected by a terrorist incident.

However, this phrase inspires me to support different charities and organisations as and when needed. Currently, I am raising funds for Giddo’s Gift, a charity that supports teenagers and young adults who have been diagnosed with cancer to improve their lives or help families with bereavement. They also donate funds to Sarcoma Research UK. I believe that empowering women to be able to achieve what they wish is important. One way I help to support this is by collecting and donating regularly to ‘Smalls For All’ a charity that sends new and gently used bras to developing countries. In these countries, bras are seen as a status symbol and by wearing one women are seen as cared for thus giving some protecting against male predators. To me, my platform is about helping many people in many different ways. These can be large or small acts but if we refuse to ignore those in crisis, we can make a difference.

What’s your dream title ?

I always find this a bit of an odd question because dreams evolve over time. A title is something you get to borrow, normally for a year, and it has always been my ambition to do the best I can with that title. I wouldn’t enter a system if I didn’t dream of winning it or believe that the journey would help me grow. My current ambition is to become Ms Natural Beauty International.

If you were to win the International Title what would it mean to you?

Having won before, I’ve had that feeling of happiness, excitement and pure confusion when your name is called but I also know what it feels like when the dream is not all your hoped it would be. This time, I have full faith in the system and its directors and if I am entrusted with the title, it would be amazing to know that they believe in me too.

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

Be organised and prepare. Read the system website and finalist pack so you know what is expected and how the scoring will work etc. Make sure you have completed everything you need to. Be visible on social media but make sure its age appropriate. Show the judges/director what they can expect from you as a queen. Remember pageants are a hobby and are meant to be fun – don’t put too much pressure on yourself. But most of all, don’t try to imitate anyone else – be yourself!

What have you been doing in the run up to your International Final ?

I’ve been doing a lot of sewing as I have a national costume to make and an evening gown that needs repairs. Apart from this, I’ve been busy make appearances and raising for charity.

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

Unfortunately, the International competition which was due to be held in May has had to be postponed. Although this is disappointing, staying safe and healthy is far more important and it just means we can be extra prepared for Internationals in October.

I’ve had to cancel 2 charity events that I had planned but I have been lucky enough to do some things online to keep me busy and to raise much needed funds for the pageant’s chosen charity – Giddo’s Gift.

What makes a good pageant role model ?

Being a good role model isn’t about saying or doing what is perceived as the right thing but about standing up for what they believing, being accepting of people’s differences and trying to make a positive change in the world.

What’s your favourite pageant round ?

I love interview. This is when you get to show the judges what you would be like as a queen. It is a chance to sell yourself and discuss your strengths.

How do you deal with pageant nerves ?

Practice, practice, practice. I always try walking in my outfits before the day as this allows me to feel confident on stage.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions about your pageant journey. It’s been great speaking to a Queen who has so many pageant accomplishments and who has carried on competing even after her System stopped. I wish you all the best in your International Final in October. Much love Charlotte, Ms Diamond South Yorkshire 2020.

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