Interview with the first ever Ms Great Britain – April Banbury
Photo Credit : Jim Rathod
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 was it like when your named was called and you were announced as the winner of the first ever Ms Great Britain?
It was the best feeling ever! It was such an amazing surreal moment knowing I’d worked so hard for my dream and it came true.
You have made Pageant History by being crowned the first ever Ms GB, do you feel under pressure at all ?
No, I don’t feel pressure. I feel excited and determined to make it the best year. I hope I can make everyone proud and inspired.
You and all the other finalists at Miss and Ms Great Britain raised just over £14k for Alex’s Wish which is incredible. How did it feel handing over such a large amount of money to charity ?
It’s such a incredible heart warm feeling. Knowing you’ve helped make a difference is a feeling that you can’t compare.
Do you think that the charity and community work that pageant contestants do will one day be recognised more ?
I really do hope so. It’s so incredible the work we all put in to supporting charitable causes. People love to have a negative perception of pageants, so I think the stronger we stand together and the more of a positive impact we make on the world soon they’ll have no choice but to recognise our efforts.
What was your favourite appearance before lockdown ?
My favourite appearance has to be the Alex’s Wish luncheon. It was such an insightful and heart warming day, being shown exactly how funds raised are used to grow and support the charity.
During lockdown you have been filming Queens in Quarantine covering topics such as mental health. What is the inspiration behind this ?
My inspiration behind this is to simply bring a positive energy and to reach out to people who might be struggling during isolation. It’s an incredibly difficult time, so if I can do anything to brighten someone’s day then I will.
You were crowned not long before lockdown, obviously you haven’t been able to make as many appearances as you would of liked. Do you have any upcoming appearances once lockdown is over?
Yes, I hope to do lots of positive things with my time. During lockdown I became a celebrity ambassador for BulliesOut and a Patron for S.E.E.D. I’m beyond excited to get started on some amazing fundraising campaigns with two incredible charities.
Can you tell us about your pageant journey, I know you also competed in Miss Galaxy before being crowned Ms Great Britain?
I competed in my first pageant 10 years ago and although I had a few years out here and there I knew Miss Great Britain was always my dream. Experiencing other pageants systems was also incredible.
You have previously competed in Miss Great Britain which is the same system as Ms Great Britain. What made you decide to keep competing in this system ?
I just adore the system. It’s the most relaxed and friendly vibe. It feels like less of a competition and more of a life changing experience. I’ve met some of my bestest friends through Miss Great Britain and I absolutely love Kate and Jemma, they’re the most hard working, passionate women and they really do care about us.
Pageants are a community and in some cases a family, are you friends with many pageant girls from previous years ?
Yes so many. I’m so grateful pageants entered my life because I wouldn’t have met half of the people that I have because of them. I couldn’t imagine life outside of the pageant community now.
Pageants are becoming more diverse and letting more people enter. There is a photo from the final with yourself and the two Ms Runners up. I think that photo sums up everything about pageants in the current era, the fact that anyone can enter and it’s an incredibly empowering experience. Do you feel that Ms and Mrs winners are given same opportunities and acknowledgment as a Miss contestant ?
Photo Credit : Jim Rathod
I love that photo. Standing there with amazing and inspiring women. I think when you win any pageant it’s up to you what you make of it. I want to show that being a Ms is just as equal to being a Miss or a Mrs. I love that systems are opening up divisions for Ms and Mrs contestants. I a huge fan of supporting diversity.
What’s your pageant platform and why?
I’m a bridal designer and stylist and in September I showcased my bridal collection at London Fashion Week.
I was the first designer to use models of diversity, with my main model who had down syndrome.
I remember her and her mother thanking me for such a rare opportunity and I thought to myself they shouldn’t have to be overwhelmed with gratitude because it should be something we consider as normal.
Now I as a designer have the power to help make this change for good!
And that’s what I love about Miss/Ms Great Britain organisation because it represents diversity. It allows us all to be ourselves. Every girl is unique and different and that’s what I love.
Do you have any advice to women competing in the Miss/Ms GB system ?
Just be yourself. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be the best. Enjoy the experience and the incredible memories you’ll make, along with the new friendships.
What’s your favourite pageant round ?
Photo Credit : Jim Rathod
My favourite round is evening gown. Because I make my own gowns, it excites my to be able to share my creativity and express my personality through my own creation.
Do you ever get “pageant nerves” ? If so how do you deal with them ?
Oh yes. I get terrible nerves but I channel them into excitement. I do a lot of meditation audios which really help me to stay focus and not let the nerves get the better of me.
Will you compete again after your reign is over ?
No, I’ve achieved my dream and I’m beyond happy with that. I’m very much looking forward to my year as the first ever Ms Great Britain and doing great things with it.
Social Media Links
Instagram @aprilbanbury Facebook @aprilbanbury Twitter @aprilbanbury
Thank you for being part of pageant lockdown project. It’s been incredibly exciting for me interviewing a pageant history making Queen and it’s been lovely readying more about your pageant journey and platform. I can’t wait to follow your journey as the first ever Ms Great Britain. Much Love Charlotte, Ms Diamond South Yorkshire 2020.