On Saturday it was the Miss London Semi-Finals! Sponsored by Badarians Property Management, 26 of us finalists competed to gain the last 14 spots and a place in the grand final, taking place Friday 6th May at the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square.unspecified2

We had some excellent helpers on the day including Rissikat Bade and Syria Edghill – both former Miss London finalists and very successful models (as well as super lovely girls – and Rissikat came 1st RU in Miss England 2011). They put us through our paces with a series of catwalk routines and poses. I hated taking my heels off and having to walk flat footed but it soon taught me a thing or two about balance, and that then made me even more confident when I walked in my heels!

The day was really fun and we also had a make-up tutorial from Sona who gave us some tips on how to contour. We also received some amazing beauty goodies from The Banwell Clinic and met its founder Paul Banwell who was wonderfully charming and gave us some great advice on looking after our skin, without lecturing us for our bad habits. Paul was inundated with our questions about how to take care of our skin, and I was relieved when he revealed the biggest no no’s for skincare – luckily I don’t drink, smoke or use sunbeds so gold star for me! Plus although I used to have a slight sugar addiction, I’m now eating clean and absolutely love working out, which are all positive steps to having ageless skin. I’m trying out the bits and bobs from my goodie bag in the next week so stay tuned on the results! Oh and I have started using antioxidants daily so hopefully that piece of advice from Paul should be beneficial.

What I really take from Saturday though is the series of charity speakers that came in and met us finalists. I wasn’t emotionally prepared for them to be honest, and it caught me off guard. It made me think more clearly about my motivations for entering this contest, and what difference can be made by working together as young women to raise awareness of great causes and encouraging charitable giving.unspecified

We first met Jade, who was battling cancer after having severe pain in her leg. I just couldn’t stop looking at Jade – she is so beautiful and just so damn cool! She was so funny and down to earth about the whole ‘c’ word and I just developed such a crush for her. I had to fight back tears hearing her story as for me it brought back the time when my boyfriend told me he had cancer – he was only 26 himself and you just never think when you’re young that you could get ill. I am wishing Jade all the best in her recovery – she has that zest for life that could conquer anything.

We also met Junior, who was representing St Christopher’s Hospice. He reminded me of that type of person I want to become. He is totally fearless and has a wicked sense of humour. Despite being paralysed seriously after coming to aid of a total stranger and being hurt himself, he said he would do it again if he had to. That sort of courage is something we all need, and I believe if we could all be a little more like Junior, then I think the world would honestly be a better place.

Flowaid came in and told us about the plight of homeless women – it is awful enough they don’t have the money to buy food or shelter, but to not have access to basic sanitary goods when on their periods is just shocking. It is something we take for granted, and I was livid when the ‘tampon tax’ wasn’t dropped last year by the government. Flowaid have reignited my passion for this, and I am working on getting the Miss England girls I know to promote the organisation and getting donations in. When you realise Jaffa Cakes are classed as a basic item and aren’t taxed, but tampons are luxury, you kind of get the impression how chauvinistic this law really is.

Finally FullFact came in and talked to us about the importance of understanding how the media works and how we can question and work together to find out the truth behind the headlines. For a generation on social media, I thought this was really useful. FullFact are just shy of their fundraising target they need to hit to cover the EU referendum, something we should all be voting on and also should be aware of all of the facts too. Have a look at their website and help if you can.

So after waiting two days to find out, I can now confirm I made the cut and I am in the finals of Miss London. I am not sure what they liked about me, but I am glad they saw something. I have wanted to do the contest for a number of years now, and after making it to Miss England (and top 15) last year, I just thought I have nothing to lose. Roll on the finals now! A big thank you to everyone for Saturday (especially Fay you are incredible!) and well done to all the girls! I don’t know how they picked because everyone was amazing!

**Pics by Alan Strutt**

http://www.paulebanwell.com/

http://www.stchristophers.org.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/FlowAidProject/

https://fullfact.org/

http://www.hippodromecasino.com/

https://officialmisslondonbeautypageant.wordpress.com/

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