The Final of Miss England took place Monday 16th June in Torquay ( the English Riveria, They have palm trees there.) 59 young ladies from all around the country headed there at the weekend to compete for the title. The winner becomes an ambassador for England, travels to Mauritaus, clothing sponsorship for the year, a model portfolio, a host of other sponsored prizes. More importantly the she will represent England at Miss World. We were there as sponsors to support and style our girl Holly Finlay (Miss Buckinghamshire) So here is a little blog post ( not so little…you might want to make a tea and settle in) about the day’s events backstage and on stage.
We touched down in Torquay Sunday night at 11pm and checked into our hotel. Holly had been in Torquay since Friday taking part in rehearsals and additional parts of the competition. Including a gruelling bootcamp as there is a sportswoman and fitness prize. Our help wasn’t needed to 4pm so we amused ourselves with a little shop in Torquay, a lounge by the hotel pool and then made our way over to the Riveriera Centre. The first round that evening was the eco dress round. Each contestant was tasked with constructing an outfit from recycled materials. As Miss England took place on the same weekend as Ascot, this was the theme. Thank-you to all of the lovely clients that donated hats for Holly’s entry. And we can now reveal our handy-work!
Back stage at Miss England at 4pm is strangely relaxed. I was expecting to feel positively troll like as beauties wafted around me, like something from another world let alone England. It didn’t feel like that. It felt a bit more like being at a girls boarding school as they prepared for their first formal dance. lots of mirrors propped up on tables as girls, all with very long hair, painstaking accurate made up faces and a host of regional accents calling out to borrow things. I expected to feel some sort of tension. The naughty bit of my brain was hoping for an evil one on a sabotage spree but not a single kipper was found in a louboutin and no-ones eyebrows went missing in their sleep. The nearest I got was a stuck zip and even that unstuck itself.
Jess helped Holly into her Eco dress which was a fairly amusing experience as a patchwork hat dress hasn’t a lot of give….poor Holly had to practically contort “the girls” like they were balloon animals to get them in the bodice. Jess then worked her magic on Holly’s hair and we waved goodbye until the final show…..It then occurred to me that on the Miss England brochure there were two hair companies involved with the show. So why were the rest of the contestants doing their own hair? It transpired that they hadn’t sent anybody down. I guess as long as you are “seen” to be a part of Miss England why actually go?
Our attention then turned to ourselves Jess and I had practically forgotten we had the VIP party to attend and it was black tie. In that room that we’d just left of girls in leggings and hair curlers, would be the next Miss England. And you couldn’t call it….How could you? We were in a room of attractive girls. All maybe the best looking one at school or college because the youngest was 17 and the oldest I think 24.
Two hours later and we were back at the Rivieria centre surrounded by the glamorous in many cases parents of the girls on stage. First round was the eco-dress where each contestant explained their inspiration for their creation. Below are a few pics of some of my favourites. We were also treated to Mr England singing, he does a mean Michael Buble impression. While all of this was going on I was eating a rather delightful three course meal and getting into the spirit of things with a bottle of Malbec. At this point again I ‘m starting to wonder how you judge this. We weren’t treated to the intelligence round although there was one down back stage. The Swimsuit round was done earlier.. It’s now called Beach Body. Which is better isn’t it?… With a beach body you’ve got to put some effort in. Bunging on a cozie and looking good is just lucky genetics. There is the Miss popularity round which is done via a phone vote….The charity money raising round which is possibly the most valid and skillful. My mind wandered at this point…as I imagined a room fully of flat packed furniture and a timed round in which you had to put together an Ikea malm chest of drawers. Bonus points for completing without the right alan key. As an audience member Miss England lacked what Xfactor or Britain’s got Talent has….emotional investment. There was a video with all the contestants. They introduced themeselves and mentioned who they were, what they did and then what was called an interesting fact about themselves. I did accidentally snort wine up my nose as a contestent titled Miss fresh curve revealed that her interesting fact is that she is……left handed. She made it through to the final 60 with that. Wow love I bet your fun at parties! They could have said anything frankly as I didn’t know them to start with! There was no score board to tell me how my favourite was doing. I mean we were sponsoring Holly but to be honest it would have been nice to add a little spice to proceedings.
All the contestants were back on stage this time in evening wear and to add the entertainment factor….The Struts…A proper rock band. Who were fresh from the Isle of Wight festival and touring with The Stones. I tweeted about this… And they tweeted back…Asking whether we’d give them a trim ?! Sadly when I approached them at the bar they weren’t so up for it. Lad’s especially Addo Slack the offer still stands! More tweets and red wine later and twist number two! My prolific tweeting had caught the attention of an interested party. “Can you keep me up to date with what Miss Cambridgeshire is up to?” Said the mystery avatar. “Yes sure”, I said. I clarified which number she was and now things had become a bit more interesting. After a few more glasses of red wine it was to well erm… time to pay a visit. The ladies room was located at the front of the room just past the stage. Who did I spy sitting on the stairs but number 9 Miss Cambridgeshire. I still had my Ipad in my hand. I pointed at my twitter feed as some explanation and took a quick picture. The official photographer was a bit confused but whatevs!
I’d gone quiet on twitter so our Miss Cambridgeshire supporter nudged me what’s happening now, he asked. I tweeted him my Picture. The contestants had been whittled down at this point to 15 from 59. And out of those 15 i knew Miss Cambridgeshire had made it through. My fingers were crossed for Holly but by this time I’d twigged what you really needed to win Miss England. Hand on heart she should have made it through.
As the top 15 took to the catwalk we were treated to Josesph Whelan of fleeting Xfactor fame singing rock.
Now who is judging this. An independent panel of the finest minds in the country I bet you’re thinking? Errr well no. A panel made up of The Miss England organiser, A bloke from a PR company whose client also judging and sponsoring….the tourist board for Mauritious, A model photographic agency, an editor of a yorkshire newspaper, a head of an eco -fashion house. Also last year’s Miss universe non other than Amy Willerton. Next the Sponsor Prizes were dished out three of these went to Miss Cambridgeshire. Including the ecodress round……Holly was robbed there!
The girls were then whittled down to five. By this point it was obvious Miss Cambridgeshire had won, we were just waiting for confirmation. lastly a mere formality the last five girls on stage were asked why they entered. Again a clear winner Miss Cambridgeshire. Obviously if they had had a best hair round we would have nailed it! It was a great night. Holly looked fabulous and carried herself with poise and worked hard. She utterly deserves Miss Buckinghamshire for her charity work and charisma and in our opinion deserved to get higher up the rankings in Miss England.
Was Miss Cambridgeshire the right winner? Will she do a good job?….yes. She is the full package and further fuels the Miss England debate If you’ve read the tabloids and watched “the Wright stuff” on Channel 5 about if Miss England should exist and if a medical student from Cambridge can enter a competition like this and still claim to be a feminist. The Miss England exists as a publicity machine. Publicising the entrants, publicity brands and publicising itself. This competition itself is a great competition for those wishing to pursue a modelling career or be in the media. Judge it for what it is. And with that in mind Miss Cambridgeshire was the best person to win. Looks, brains, the ability to defend herself and fuel a debate that gained more publicity than the contest has got for many years. And the controversy will continue This December as London Hosts Miss World at the Excel Docklands. We look forward to working with Holly Miss Buckinghamshire on future projects ( watch this space) And we wish Carina Tyrrell Miss England every success this year.
Now Carina your Twitter friend promised in fact Pinky swore you’d come and visit us for tea! And you’re going to need some hairdressers for the Miss World final aren’t you?