etting to represent your home county in a national beauty contest would be the dream for a lot of young girls.
For Kilpedder’s Becky Johnston, the thrill of wearing that Miss Wicklow sash as the search for Ireland’s finest young lass gets underway has proven to be far more than she ever dreamt though.
“It’s also been an incredible amount of work,” she laughs.
It’s not enough that you look great, live well and want everyone on the planet to just do a group hug, you’ve also got to be a hostess with the mostess, a fundraiser, a politician, a dancer, a chancer and, through it all, have a smile on your beautiful face that never dips below 11.
“Which means that the whole process can be kind of dizzying,” continues Becky. “But, in the most wonderful way. You know these are all skills that you’ll always be able to apply in life, and the whole experience is something that you won’t ever forget. So, I’m loving every second of being in Miss Ireland…”
Just what is involved on a daily basis for Ms Johnston we decided to find out by asking the pride of Kilpedder to take part in our occasional column, A Day In The Life…
Consider beauty pageants and you’re thinking crowns, big dresses and glamour. Well, think again…
There is a massive stigma around beauty pageants, the idea that they view women as objects, something ‘pretty’ to look at and nothing more. In my experience as a contestant so far, this particular stereotype is very far removed from the truth.
To show you just how even my own preconceptions were shifted, I’ve put together a quick run-through of the week leading up to one of the biggest events of Miss Ireland, which was held last weekend. An event which tested both our physical and psychological abilities…
Monday July 26th was scheduled for both a massive sports day and the Miss Ireland 120 Challenge, plus, just in case we needed a rest afterwards, a dance rehearsal for the grand finale. I have always played sports and kept fit so I was genuinely excited for the sports aspect of the day. And I liked the fact that the 120 Challenge was going to be a massive test when it comes to a fear just about everyone has – giving a presentation talk in front of an audience.
In regard to the latter, each Miss Ireland contestant had to choose a charity close to their heart one that they would fundraise for alongside the pageant’s official Variety Children’s Charity. Once chosen, you had to pitch why that particular charity is special to you in just 120 seconds on stage – in front of three judges and the rest of the contestants. This challenge also takes place at Miss World and the standard of public speaking at the global event has to be strong enough to convince the world. Whoever will be crowned Miss Ireland will go on to Costa Rica in November and compete in the 120 Challenge at that level – which scares me, just thinking about it.
My preparations for all these tasks and tests take place every evening. I work from 8.30am to 6pm as an IT recruiter, then head straight to Go Gym for training. After that, to relax, I read or catch up on social media. In the run up to events, I have an evening in Doe Eyes, where the beauty side of things takes place – nails, lashes and brows. The tan is done two days before to ensure no blunders and the suitcase is packed the night before. The contents of the suitcase would require a write up in itself!
Finally, the big day arrived, with the sports day proving a massive success – as was, thankfully, the 120 Challenge. My chosen charity being LauraLynn, I found myself speaking with ease due to the nature of what the incredible work this children’s hospice does when it comes to, as they say, making the most of short and precious lives. I would be lying however, if I said I wasn’t shaking standing in front of the panel and my fellow contestants.
I tried to hold on to some of that shaking for the dance rehearsals later that evening. It was great to just shake off the stress of the day, dancing around to our hearts’ content.
Home by 9pm, exhausted, and I was back at my office desk before I knew it. And thinking about next weekend’s line-up of challenges…
You can find out more about LauraLynn here, and Becky Johnston – including how to vote for her – right about here.
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