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Beauty Pageants – Breaking the stigma and stereotypes in pageantry.

Including exclusive interview with Harriotte Lane

Harriotte Lane – Miss International UK 2019/2020

Tell us about yourself?

I (Harriotte) have been competing in pageants for eight years and it is my sole passion. I am also a full time Pageant coach and dedicate myself to helping others achieve their dreams like I did. I love to exercise, cook, attending events and I definitely count shopping as a hobby. As a pageant girl shopping becomes more the norm. I love being a pageant girl and have been blessed with so many opportunities to travel the globe such as the Miss International Global finals which were held in Japan. I have also been to Indonesia and America through the pageant systems alone.

“Harriotte is the only contestant to have won the crown in three divisions. She is also the only coach that holds this record also.”

Let's talk platforms.

My platform centred around pageantry and inspiring others to reach their potential. I wanted to create a community for girls getting into pageantry and support them on there journey where they can grow and learn new things. I chose this platform as I have had a community for over 7 years on my social media and started off doing one off coaching which then set the ball rolling and The Crown Coach was born in 2019. My first pageant I made quite and impact and wanted to carry this on throughout my career; I have really invested into my community and pageants and wanted to bring these together to help others. This started out with girls messaging me asking where they start, what pageants involve and so on – so I created this community where experienced and newbie pageant girls could go to find advice, guidance and ask about others journeys into pageantry. This included many different pageant systems, charity events and much more. One of the most exciting things about being a coach are the boot camps and classes that I have set up such as ‘Crown Camp’.

What is Crown Camp and how can it help when preparing a pageant?

Even if you are not taking part in a pageant the experience is so beneficial for everyone – it is catered for people 12+ and is an amazing opportunity to make friends and gain confidence in yourself. I have camps for different ages depending on which division for example Teen and Miss. The camp is designed to build up your confidence and gain valuable coaching as well as getting to experience and learn what pageant are all about. It is also a way for girls from different pageant systems to learn about each other and prepare for there pageant without the added stress of the competition. Its sort of like a dress rehearsal before you step on the stage for real. Crown camp is a two-night stay in a beautiful mansion, on arrival you receive an amazing goody bag filled with crown coach merchandise. Throughout the experience you also have the opportunity to have a photo shoot with one of the best pageant photographers in the industry Charlotte Clemmie. People literally struggle to get booked in with her she is so good so its an amazing way to jump that que. During the two days stay we also host a Pink Party where it is totally pink themed, and everyone dresses up to match the theme – this year we have even got a pink themed room. We also host a PJ party so you can imagine what that entails.

Tell us about the good and the bad?

I think when you are starting out the most daunting thing can be the fear of how you are going to be treated and all the preparation that comes with being a contestant. I want to put your mind at ease by letting you know pageants are based on sisterhood and empowerment and all the girls are super supportive – you literally make friends for life. You going to gain confidence, experience and life skills as well as being exposed to amazing opportunities, there is no negativity. In my experience the best things about pageants are the opportunities to travel, like I said earlier I have literally travelled the globe through pageants alone. It helped my start my own business as a coach and with promoting pageantry. I have also been able to step into modelling and presenting through being an ambassador for Miss International. I have made lifelong friends and dare say I have a friend in every part of the world – it is truly amazing. I have also had some big names sponsor me such as BMW and was given a beautiful car that was branded with my name and title. I have also been sponsored by Naz, an amazing designer, who has created some of the most beautiful ball gowns that I and other queens have worn.

“Harriotte’s advice is to never give up and even though she was lucky enough to win the crown her first time there have been girls who have went back and won two. Be persistent and follow your dreams and she advise everyone to prepare, research and you will succeed”.

Is it all glitz and glam?

When we think of beauty pageants we think of ball gowns, glitz, and glamour; but that is only the tip of the iceberg. The girls, women and men who compete in these pageants work hard all year-round fundraising, running campaigns, modelling, presenting, creating awareness all alongside their normal jobs and hobbies. They demonstrate their dedication and showcase all their achievements while promoting a healthy active lifestyle. When beauty pageants where first starting, they were traditionally looking for physical attributes from their contestants but at that time women were seen as objects of desire and men had the money to fund these events. As women have broken their silence and gained more responsibility in a ‘mans world’, we have developed careers, businesses and overall, our dreams that were shunned for centuries. We are allowed to be individual and daring and pageants are a clear example of women developing over the past century alone.

Pageants can be broken up into divisions and many people can be crowned at the grand finals, these typically include Miss, Mrs, Ms, Little Miss, Miss Pre-Teen and so on. This means individuals of all ages can be given the opportunity to shine and gain sponsorship from celebrities, fashion designers and more. This also allow people from different backgrounds to come together and compete nationally meaning every year someone gets to take home a crown to their hometown or city. This is a tremendous achievement and contestants are often featured in local, regional, and national newspapers; and when the opportunity arises even international. Many queens have gone on to have successful careers in parliament, government, fashion, business and have become role models and ambassadors making a real difference in their community.

When competing in pageants many contestants have come from backgrounds where they have been abused or exploited and they use this as their platform to create awareness and help others who have suffered similar traumas. They are very inspirational people who win awards such as People’s choice – the possibilities of a beauty queen really are endless. There is also a wonderful community that can be found in every pageant system, and everyone becomes part of the sisterhood that follows meaning endless support and friendship. Most queen feel as though they create and maintain lifelong friendships and bonds that fill them with confidence. Empowerment is one of the main things someone can take from a pageant.

Other relationships can also be built such as Sponsors. This can be a dress shop offering you a dress for the competition in return for advertising or a local business donating to your pageant fund. It can help businesses who promote the competitions enabling contestant to be involved in brand awareness and possible social media opportunities. The list really does go on and the diversity never stops. There are pageants for everyone whether that be tattoo fanatics, plus size, male, and children. There has even been Transgender females who have won competitions too.

In a word where people are developing and working on their self like never in history, pageants are going to help shape the way for women who are trying to make it in the world. It is a chance to showcase achievements and gain help in any ventures to improve their career and passions. We celebrate change and the growth of a person and this what pageants are all about, empowerment, success and really is beauty with a purpose.

“Crowns are made of rhinestones. They are made of discipline, dedication and courage”.

Check out the links below maybe there is something for you!

Miss England (only entry into Miss World):

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