A student at Cambridge, a feminist, and now Miss England. Why can’t I be all three?

Beauty contests are about far more than physical appearance

Share

I am in my fifth year studying medicine at Cambridge University, and on Monday night in Torquay I was crowned Miss England 2014. There is no contradiction between the two parts of my life: the competition is about so much more than just 'looking pretty'

Contrary to popular belief, physical beauty is only a sixth of the modern competition. Looks alone do not triumph; to represent their nation, a ‘Miss’ has demonstrate a number of qualities, including being charitable and caring, healthy and hard-working, talented and trained. You are judged by raising money for the charity Beauty with a Purpose, taking part in a military boot camp, demonstrating a talent, creating an eco-friendly dress, and having a beautiful personality. A ‘Miss’ is not born overnight; she has to work hard and want to help others. 

I’m a student doctor, and I want people to judge me not just on the way I look, but on my whole personality, and the things I have worked so hard to achieve. My friends and family appreciate that I have always wanted to make a positive difference in the world, which is why I am training to become a doctor, but that by entering the competition I hope that I will have the opportunity to make a difference on a much larger scale.

Carina Tyrell was crowned Miss England 2014 Carina Tyrell was crowned Miss England 2014 But I believe that beauty has a positive role to play in society. People in the public eye, like the winners of the 'Miss' competitions, can champion good causes and inspire others. I would like to encourage young women to be well rounded, not to take their education for granted, and to realise that being beautiful is about their personality as a whole. I would also like to help those who suffer, not only medically once I am a doctor, but also by using my public platform to raise awareness of local and global issues by speaking out and fundraising for important causes. In the last 3 years alone Miss England has raised over £500,000 for disadvantaged children in this country.

I firmly believe that beauty pageants are still relevant in 2014.  In the 21st century, it is shocking that some women still do not have basic rights over their own bodies. I consider myself a feminist, and by participating in a beauty pageant, I am exercising my right to be involved in a movement that encourages women to be independent future leaders.

Over 10,000 women applied to be Miss England 2014, at over 80 heats held across the country. I was lucky enough to be chosen as the winner, and crowned a beautiful ambassador for my country. But all my fellow contestants are young women who are successful and charitable, and want to make a difference to others.  These are not qualities that should be derided, or women that should be mocked.

 

This article has been updated on 18 June to reflect the fact that Carina Tyrell has now won the Miss England competition.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Developer / Mobile Apps / Java / C# / HTML 5 / JS

£17000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Junior Mobile Application Devel...

Recruitment Genius: LGV Driver - Category C or C+E

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This national Company that manu...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - OTE £30,000

£13000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Assistant

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Maintenance Assistant is requ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Newspaper stands have been criticised by the Child Eyes campaign  

There were more reader complaints this year – but, then again, there were more readers

Will Gore
 

People drink to shut out pain and stress – arresting them won’t help

Deborah Coughlin
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?