Miss Wales isn’t just about looks, says artist Emily

Cynon Valley - - NEWS - KATIE GUPWELL katieann.gupwell@waleson­line.co.uk

MISS Wales – a com­pe­ti­tion full of glam­our, sparkle and beau­ti­ful Welsh women.

At least that’s what most peo­ple think the well-known pageant is all about.

But this year one of the com­peti­tors wants to show that the com­pe­ti­tion is about a lot more than just looks.

Emily Nor­ris, from Ynysybwl, says com­pet­ing in Miss Wales is about more than sim­ply be­ing beau­ti­ful.

The artist, and proud Welsh girl, never ex­pected to see her­self on the stage un­til she com­pleted her de­gree at univer­sity.

She spent three years in Lon­don study­ing at the Univer­sity of the Arts but she didn’t have the best time.

When she re­turned to home she re­alised she had lost her spark.

Emily, 23, said: “After study­ing in Lon­don I lost quite a lot of con­fi­dence in my­self.

“I missed a lot of things about home – Wales always re­ally had my heart.

“I was in the stu­dio most of the time and I missed my fam­ily a lot.

“The liv­ing con­di­tions were also dis­gust­ing.

“When I came back I wanted to use what I’d learnt to give some­thing back to the com­mu­nity.

“I wanted to put the skills I had crafted to good use and try to re­build my con­fi­dence.”

Even though Emily liked Lon­don she said it was a pretty big place, but she knew she had a lot to of­fer peo­ple back at home.

She wanted to try and get her mojo back so she took a jump in the deep end and signed up to com­pete in Miss Wales.

Now she’s pre­par­ing for the grand fi­nal that takes place this month.

Emily said she’s had the best time and ex­plained that the com­pe­ti­tion is very dif­fer­ent to what peo­ple think.

“I think a lot of peo­ple stereo­type com­pe­ti­tions like Miss Wales in dif­fer­ent ways,” said Emily. “I want to show that there is a whole other side to it. So much more work goes into it than peo­ple think.

“You have to raise a lot of money for charity – but that doesn’t go to­wards if you win or not.

“You put in as much as you want to put in, and you get out as much as you want to get out of it.”

So far Emily has hosted a ball and af­ter­noon teas to raise money for a host of char­i­ties that are se­lected by the com­pe­ti­tion’s or­gan­is­ers.

She’s raised about £1,100 by host­ing these events and she hopes to raise much more.

But, for Emily, a big part of her role in the com­pe­ti­tion lies within ed­u­ca­tion.

She wants to show that there are a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties to be had in skill­based em­ploy­ment.

Emily ex­plained: “When I was at school I was pushed to go to Ox­ford but I didn’t want to go. I mean, Ox­ford is amazing but I always wanted to study art. Even so, I was still pushed down the aca­demic route. I want to show peo­ple that you can do a lot with skill-based sub­jects. I have hosted hand­craft work­shops with stu­dents in the past.

“I hope to do more of these to show that there are other op­tions for peo­ple in skill-based sub­jects.”

The self-em­ployed sculp­tor now spends about 10 hours a week car­ry­ing out Miss Walesre­lated du­ties.

Even though she would never have pic­tured her­self on the stage three years ago, she’s glad she took on the chal­lenge and stepped out of her com­fort zone.

Now her biggest aim is to show off her per­son­al­ity and re­veal the true Emily on stage.

Emily said: “Per­son­al­ity is a big thing for the judges. It’s not just about looks, al­though they do come into it. The only time they judge you is on the ac­tual night of the pageant. It’s about how you present your­self and come across on stage.”

The young artist said you have to be in a “hum­ble place” to do well as you can to show you can work with lots of dif­fer­ent peo­ple.

Al­though the girls have cri­te­ria to meet on how they present them­selves on stage, Emily just wants to be her­self.

“I’m not re­ally into things like fake tan so I wouldn’t re­ally go crazy on things like that be­cause it’s not me,” she added.

“I think I need to show my per­son­al­ity and re­flect who I re­ally am, be­cause I wouldn’t want to win some­thing where I haven’t been my­self.

“They want to see who you are, and that’s what’s im­por­tant.

“My fam­ily has also sup­ported me through­out ev­ery­thing, and I just want to thank them for that.”

The Miss Wales fi­nal takes place on Satur­day, April 28 in New­port.

JOR­DAN STEPHENS PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Emily Nor­ris, from Ynysybwl

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