'There's more to beauty pageants than image'
MENSTRIE'S Erin McNeill believes there is more to beauty pageants than image and is preparing to take on her 11th at the weekend.
Stirling's Dazzling Beauty 2012 will head down to London to participate in the Pre Grand finals of the UK's Dazzling Beauty on Saturday 9 September.
The 22-year-old first joined the pageant world to prove that scars are beautiful.
Erin was badly burned in a house fire in 2009, and wants to show there are all kinds of beauty in the world.
Having taken part in international pageants, so far she has secured the Miss International Public Vote, Best Interview at Miss Falkirk 2012, First Runner Up and Best Hair at Miss Northern Beauty in England.
In the competition on Saturday awards up for grabs include Miss Photogenic, High Fashion, Charity, Publicity and more.
Erin said, "I particularly admire this pageant, they have done everything possible to make it fair, they don't expect you to just turn up, you need to create videos, pages, profiles, voting.
"That way you have had plenty of opportunity to work for a title. Each pageant is different, they all look for different qualities and dazzling beauty looks at every quality of a girl.
"I would be grateful for any of the awards, and there is so many at this pageant. I have worked so hard for it, and I'd really like to come away with an award knowing that my efforts were recognised."
The final itself set for Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 of September.
Erin says there are misconceptions about pageants being all about looks.
She explained that in her experience what matters is the causes and charities you support and making friends.
She went on, "I love the chance to represent my area and my country both of which I am very proud of. And I love to show people there is life after trauma. My trauma has affected my physical appearance but what people don't realise is 70 per cent of the girls who look like society's perfect vision have had traumas which are not visible such as domestic abuse, anorexia, homelessness.
"They are taking part to build confidence, and also they may look fine to the outside world they are also doing pageants for a reason. I have inspired so many by standing up and getting on with life, so I walk on a stage all dressed up it doesn't mean I'm the most confident, but at least I'm trying.
"I don't do pageants for me. I do it for everyone else who is in a difficult position in life. I just want to show people if you want your life back go and get it. I'm not 100 per cent there but I'm getting there slowly and helping others at the same time."
This article appeared in Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser 05 Sep 12
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