Entering my first pageant, I had no idea what to expect. I was a complete outsider with no experience. What I was not expecting was the amazing fun, memories and experiences it would give me.

When I opened my finalist letter for Miss Teen Great Britain, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I was given clear instructions on what to do and how the weekend would be by Holly and her brilliant team, that made the weekend run without a hiccup and even though I had never done a pageant, I felt prepared. The day before the pageant we had the challenge day and the the pyjama party and we all had such an brilliant time making new friends and getting the giggles! Everyone was so welcoming and inspiring, never had I been in a room full of such hard working girls! We all went to bed ready for our beauty sleep for the final the following morning where we all met at the globe theatre in Blackpool. We practised our dance, had a bite to eat, and then the interview!
I went into the room a ball of nerves but was soon relaxed by the lovely panel of judges as I told them all I had done that year and answered their questions. After a while my time was up I left feeling optimistic and incredibly elevated for the finals.

My first time stepping onto the stage, I felt no nerves and I just enjoyed myself. I was confident and elated to be on stage celebrating my year as Miss Teen Rotherham. I went backstage to change into my fashion wear and everyone was helping each other put on shoes and dresses, we were already a team and it was evidently not a case of every man for himself. Fashion wear went flawlessly and we all returned to the stage for evening wear. I loved seeing the outfits my fellow finalist had chosen, everyone looked gorgeous. We then did one last final walk and the results were announced.

I didn’t make it to the top twenty, but to be honest I knew I was inexperienced and I wasn’t expecting to.

I was, however, so glad to see Molly Mae Hague and Ashleigh Wild crowned as they had worked so hard this year and I believe they embody the beliefs of Miss Teen Great Britain as two inspiring young ladies. After all our photos and hugs, most of us went for a well earned bite to eat which was funny to watch as crowds of pageant girls flooded into Blackpool McDonald’s. We then went for our last night in the hotel, before returning home to reality.

Holly gave us an inspiring talk before the finale and she told us if we had come here solely seeking the crown, we wouldn’t have taken on board the amazing experience we had this year, and we would overlook the friendships and memories made this weekend, and I couldn’t agree with Holly more. If you set your sights on that crown you will get tunnel vision and be unable to see the real purpose of the pageant: to inspire change for the better. You must embrace every second, and cherish every friendship made, and be proud of the things you have used your platform to achieve.

I definitely gained so much experience and I welcome my next pageant with open arms.
Niamh Kimpton

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All photos copyright of Paul Carrol monsignor photography.

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