The sun sparkles against the river Usk as we arrive at the modern Riverfront Theatre in the heart of Newport. This is the first time Miss Divine UK have held their grand finals at the impressive venue and it’s the perfect setting for the crowning of this year’s Queens.
The competition is high and there’s an air of excitement as contestants from all over the United Kingdom arrive at the theatre with shared hopes of taking home their very own Miss Divine title.
The girls have worked exceptionally hard to earn their place as a contestant in one of Wales’ most empowering beauty pageants; after having already won their divisional titles. Glamorous ball gowns, high heels and glittering crowns are carefully escorted through the reception area as the girls make their way backstage in preparation for the busy day ahead.
It’s not the first time we have joined Miss Divine UK in their grand finale celebrations. After attending their first crowning ceremony the year before we were in awe of the determination, hard work and passion radiating from all of those involved; attributes which have become fundamental to the pageant’s success.
This year I have been given the unique and exciting opportunity of joining the Miss Divine UK judging panel; gaining an insight into all the hard work put in by everyone involved. We will be scoring the girls based on a variety of different qualities and the great work they have carried out throughout the year working tirelessly to support a wide range of charities and communities.
Joining me on the judging panel are Sharon Peters, Holly Frances Williams, Peng Jasmine Ling, Shekira Johnson and Mia Rose-Lewis. A group of inspiring and successful ladies, all dedicated in finding queens that truly embody the pageant’s values and ambition.
As we interview each of the contestants and learn more about their backgrounds, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of passion and determination they reveal as they share their life stories.
Jessica Rawlings talks about the challenges she has overcome in order to be here today. “I was really drawn to the Miss Divine pageants because of what the organisation stands for and the diversity of women that are welcomed. From a young age I grew up in a domestic abuse household this then transitioned into my adult relationships. No women, man or child should ever have to recover from being abused emotionally or physically. Miss Divine pageants are the perfect organisation to help me platform this social issue”.
We meet girls of all ages from very different walks of life. From Cabin Crew, Doctors and Teachers to Mothers, Students and Undertakers; each having their own personal reasons for entering the pageant.
As a serving soldier in the British Army, Paige from Wiltshire tells us how the pageant provides her with an opportunity to feel feminine which can sometimes be challenging in her career.
Sophie-Ann Wheaton is only 9 years old but has already supported some brilliant causes; raising money for the homeless, Breast Cancer UK and anti-bullying charities.
We meet Krishna Mistry, an ambassador of the ‘Be Real’ initiative which works to promote self-esteem by embracing a healthy lifestyle and positive body image no matter what size or age you are.
Tracey Anson bravely tells us about her life limiting health conditions which mean she is reliant on an electric wheelchair, feeding tube and assistance dog. As a Trustee for an LGBTQIA charity, Tracey works hard to raise awareness of rare diseases and hidden illnesses, “I wish to be a good role model for others and to inspire them to achieve their dreams in life. Everyone deserves their dreams or wishes to come true no matter what battles they are facing as memories are very precious to have”.
It’s an honour to meet so many strong and ambitious women who have stepped out of their comfort zones and gone out of their way to support so many worthy causes. As the interview sessions come to a close I feel mentally drained yet extremely excited for the evening ahead.
It’s not long before guests, family, friends and supporters begin to fill the impressive Riverside Theatre. The contestants put on a brilliant show having worked with Miss Divine’s official Choreographer to perfect their opening dance routine. The girls are joined by the talented Rhain’s Dancers and powerful vocalist Yasmine Davies, both effortlessly putting on an enjoyable performance to the delight of the crowd.
Miss Divine’ Directors Colleen Andrews and Leah Maxine Andrews have done an outstanding job arranging the event and ensuring everything runs smoothly. Leah Maxine Andrews welcomes each of the girls on stage and they look stunning as they each take turns to showcase their evening, national and evening wear attire.
Professional catwalk and staging coaches have spent time with the girls beforehand to help them prepare for this evening and this is evident in the confidence radiating from the girls as they happily smile at the crowd.
The judging panel score each of the contestants once more, this time based on their evening wear and stage presence. As I hand in my judges slip, I wonder how we could possibly choose only five queens from such an inspiring group of girls. Having met them earlier in the day and hearing about their lives and how much this opportunity means to them only makes it harder.
As the final scores are counted, the girls gather together on stage, holding hands as they eagerly await the results in the final crowning ceremony. The audience welcome last year’s winners to the stage and Megan Goldberger delivers a heartfelt message to the girls as she fondly recalls her experience as 2017’s Miss Divine UK.
As Leah announces the results and the new queens take turn to collect their crowns, I couldn’t be more pleased for our winners:
After a thoroughly enjoyable evening and emotional ceremony the girls congratulate each other on their successes; each having worked tremendously hard to be there.
I felt privileged to have worked with everyone at Miss Divine and am very proud of all the girls who made it to the finals. Its hard to appreciate the amount of work the girls have put in to be there and I feel lucky to have been able to hear about this first hand on the judging panel.
Miss Divine UK is a beauty pageant that breaks the mould. Where internal beauty and diversity are embraced to create a sisterhood of inspiring women working to support some incredible causes. The team are dedicated in giving contestants the encouragement and support to become the very best version of themselves, whilst developing important life skills, meeting new friends and having a whole lot of fun along the way!
The grand finals of Junior Miss, Miss Teen, Mrs, Ms and Miss Divine UK are being held on the 14th September 2019 at the Riverfront Theatre, Newport, South Wales.
- Tickets •
Tickets will go on sale closer to the event and will be announced on all of their social media pages. If you do have any questions or queries regarding tickets or our grand finals, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of their team members will get back to you as soon as possible.
Miss Divine UK links to find out more:
Written By: Samantha Swindlehurst
Event Photography By: Neil Swindlehurst