Miss Wales isn’t just about looks, says artist Emily
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.
Emily Norris, from Ynysybwl