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Beauty Queens Busting The Pageant 'Myth'

Trainee solicitor and MMA fighter among 2019 Miss Wales hopefuls

A trainee solicitor and a mixed martial arts fighter are among four south Wales women looking to inspire others to 'reach for the stars' as they compete for the Miss Wales 2019 title.

Nia Sturgess, from Neath and Zoe Belton, from Gorseinon are two of four Swansea and Neath Port Talbot finalists to pop in to see us at The Wave & Swansea Sound this morning (Monday 28th January).

The pair were joined by Gabriella Jukes - who is a former Britains' Next Top Model contestant - and Jessica Galivan, a care worker from Swansea. 

The four young ladies have made it into the final 40 women vying for the coveted Miss Wales 2019 title.

The prestigious competition takes place on Saturday 13th April in Newport and celebrates months of challenges and activities undertaken by the finalists in a bid to take the crown.

All of the girls are raising money for 'Beauty with a Purpose' which is the Miss World official charity. All of the money they raise stays in Wales to help disadvantaged children here.

For Zoe, Nia, Gabriella and Jessica, their mission is to empower women and to let them know that 'the world is your oyster, if you reach for the stars'.

The young women told us in today's world of 'picture-perfect instagram', the need to empower others to be comfortable in their own skin is greater than ever.

So let's meet the girls...

Nia Sturgess, 24, from Skewen in Neath told is a trainee solicitor by day but is also in the running for the Miss Wales 2019 crown.

She told us, "I am very passionate about law and I enjoy doing that but with Miss Wales, it wasn't necessarily planned, but when I got into it I realised it is not the beauty pageants and the myth of walking up and down on a cat walk and everything about image.

"It is more about being a good role model for younger people and showing them that anything is possible. I am quite a career driven person so I just want to show everyone that if you work hard enough and put in the time and apply yourself you can do anything.

"The world is your oyster is you reach for the stars."

 

Zoe Belton from Gorseinon studied Finance and Acounting with Law at university and works in the finance industry. The 22-year-old told us empowerment is very important for her and one of the reasons she loves pageantry.

Zoe also says her hobbies are not that usual for a pageant contestant!

"A lot of the time these days you are bombarded with girls looking a certain way and you think you have to fit into a certain box. I think it is important to show women that you can be confident in your own skin without having to look like someone else.

"I love learning new skills. In the past I have done taekwonda, kick boxing and MMA. I love it.

"It is different to what someone who is in a pageant would do but it is great fun.

"You get to build your self esteem. I find when I do it actively it builds my confidence as well."

 

 

Gabriella Jukes, 22, from Port Talbot has an undergraduate degree in Sports Science and has been offered a place to do her Masters. She is taking a break from education to pursue her career in modelling after getting into the final 14 of Britain's Next Top Model in 2017.

Gabriella said modelling over the last few years has really boosted her confidence, "I was a shy little vulnerable girl and it was a massive shock getting into the final 14 [of Britain's Next Top Model] that really boosted my confidence. Being from Port Talbot, I never thought I would do something like that. I still have to pinch myself that it happened."

Gabriella told us she is an Ambassador for several women's organisations which all have a strong focus on empowering women.

Listen to her interview here:

 

18-year-old Jessica Galivan is a care worker supporting adults with learning difficulties in Swansea.

"I love the idea of pageants, not just because of the glitz and the glamour, but it is such a friendly environment. Everyone wants each other to do well. 

"Day to day I take people shopping, I cook and clean for people, so being up on stage in lovely dresses is the complete opposite [to my day job].

Jessica told us about a fundraising event she and the girls have coming up:

"It is the 22nd February in the Cwmfelin Club in Manselton. We will have some lovely entertainment, a fashion show a raffle and it is going to be an all-round great night."

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