‘People think you’re crazy’ – Miss Newcastle winners reveal what the choice really is

– I think that when you say ‘I compete in competitions’, people automatically think that you are rude or uneducated and only for yourself – but quite the opposite. “

Alisha Cowie is a personal trainer and model with a degree in crime scene investigation. She is also Miss Newcastle 2017.

The city competition, which has lasted for more than a decade, calls itself a “celebration of local beauty and talent” in which participants are tasked with raising money for charities in the northeast. But beneath the splendor and glamor of the event, few people know what’s going on behind the scenes.

We are talking to Alisha and two other winners, Rebecca Gormley and Monet Grant, to find out.

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Miss Newcastle 2017 – Alisha Cowie

Miss Newcastle 2017 Alisha Cowie.
Miss Newcastle 2017 Alisha Cowie.

Former winner Alisha, 22, knows better than anyone what it really is like to participate and what it takes to win.

“When I was competing for Miss Newcastle I was 17 and I was so self-aware,” she said. “But it gave me confidence. Getting involved in charity work and meeting other girls who love things like you gives you a sense of community and you just made friends.

“It was a little fun. I think that’s what people don’t understand.

“You’re not here to be told that you’re the most beautiful girl in Newcastle, you’re here to represent yourself and have a little fun. If you win, you win, and you can use it the way you want.”

For the Durham model Alisha, this meant using her platform to raise money and raise awareness for organizations such as PAPYRUS UK, a charity to prevent youth suicide. She emphasized that participating in the election does not mean becoming a model or an influencer – that is the role in which the winner has the role of the ambassador of Newcastle.

“It’s about giving and being a all-round good person who can represent Newcastle well,” she said. “There’s a lot more to it than just wanting to be a model or an influencer; you have to want better things for yourself. So I used that platform to be a PAPYRUS ambassador.

“I think you have to be in the game for the right reasons. If you want to be famous or Instagram famous, it won’t necessarily help you.”

But Alisha admits that she has faced negative stereotypes about what kind of people think they are competitors.

– I think that when you say ‘I compete in competitions’, people automatically think that you are rude or uneducated and only for yourself –but that is completely incorrect, “she said.

The young women who participate raise thousands for charities such as the Chronicle Sunshine Fund by organizing their own fundraising events during the competition, but the finale is largely a show on the runway.

Participants model a variety of clothes, including an evening dress, on the catwalk and give a speech in response to a judge’s question. A jury composed of “industry experts” then makes a decision on who will crown Miss Newcastle.

It is known that the women who participate spend up to 2,000 pounds on a dress that they hope will delight the judges, but Alisha quickly emphasized that this is not what will make you a winner.

Alisha, who won the crown for Miss England and competed for Miss World after securing the title of Miss Newcastle, said: “You can be the most beautiful girl [judges] you’ve ever seen it, but if you don’t have the rest of what they’re looking for then you won’t win.

“Some girls I know spend £ 2,000 on an evening gown, but that’s just not necessary because the gown is not something that will win you over in a competition. Basically, it’s all in your confidence.

“If you’re confident in a £ 50 dress, you’ll win someone who’s not sure about a £ 2,000 dress.”

Alisha, who is due to compete at Miss International UK next year, joked that the election could be quite “contagious” as she offered advice to women who want to become the next Miss Newcastle.

“Don’t worry about what other girls look like or what they do,” she said. “Sometimes, what you see on social media is not always what happens. Come in and be yourself.”

Miss Newcastle 2018 – Rebecca Gormley

Miss Newcastle 2018 Rebecca Gormley
Miss Newcastle 2018 Rebecca Gormley

This advice is repeated by Miss Newcastle 2018 winner Rebecca Gormley, who continued to act in Love Island after winning the title.

The 24-year-old model from Wallsend said: “You don’t know who will win because the judges care so much. It’s not just about how you look. The judges also look at the way you present yourself before the competition.

“My advice to people would be to be yourself and not compare yourself to others. The most important thing is to have fun with it. Don’t put pressure on yourself.”

Rebecca, who was also crowned Miss Charity after collecting £ 2,500 for the Chronicle Sunshine Fund, she said the choice had a huge impact on boosting her self-confidence.

“It helped a lot,” she said. “I’ve always been pretty confident and open, but the election really took me out of my comfort zone.”

She continued: “Obviously, that led to other opportunities for me for which I am grateful. I think I gained followers on the road to election by raising funds for charity and connecting with the community.

“I feel like it initially helped me build my platform and people and people like TV notice me. Maybe the Miss Newcastle platform helped me get to Love Island – I don’t know!”

Rebecca said that, four years later, she still maintains contact with many of the girls she competed with, shattering the thought that the election could be meaningless.

“Even though all the girls are competing with each other because people want to win, we have all become like family,” she said. “Everyone was so supportive of each other. I made a lot of friends at the competition and now I’m talking to a lot of girls.”

Miss Newcastle 2019 – Monet Grant

Miss Newcastle 2019 Monet Grant.
Miss Newcastle 2019 Monet Grant.

This is also the case with Miss Newcastle 2019 winner Monet Grant who said the selection has more than what is seen.

The 22-year-old from Chester-Le-Street said she became close friends with the women she competed with, while calling the competition a “celebration” of their charitable efforts.

Monet, who now works as an interior designer in Manchester, has raised £ 2,500 for the Sunshine Fund. She said: “It was my first competition in my life, but I wouldn’t call it a choice, because it’s not all in splendor and glamor.

“If it was purely beauty-based, I wouldn’t go in. It’s more of a celebration of what we’ve done, working closely with the Chronicle Sunshine Fund.”

She continued: “Miss Newcastle is more focused on looking at our values ​​individually and our personality and hard work and dedication, rather than beauty pageants rather than your classic, old-fashioned competitions. While it’s nice to get dressed and go on the catwalk more it’s about how you behave and hold, especially when it comes to speeches – it was about how you got along with everyone.

“You don’t feel like you’re competing that night because you’re so close with girls.”

Monet, who wore her prom dress for evening dresses, gave advice to anyone considering participating.

She said: “Just be completely your own when you enter. Your personality is individual and everyone will like it.”

The Chronicle Sunshine Foundation said the Miss Newcastle pageant helped raise thousands of pounds to purchase specialist and customized equipment for children with disabilities in the Northeast. In 2019, the competition raised 35,000 pounds for charity.

A spokeswoman for The Chronicle Sunshine Fund said: “We have been proud users of Miss Newcastle’s campaign for many years and it was a fantastic opportunity for the charity. Not only to raise vital funds, but also to raise the profile of the charity in the business community.

“We have always been impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of the finalists who supported us. Funds raised through the Miss Newcastle campaign allow us to procure specialized and customized equipment for children with disabilities in the Northeast region and We are so proud of the finalists who raised this phenomenal amount. We can’t wait for this event to return and once again highlight the passion and spirit of the Newcastle community. “


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