I'm a #mummaonamission. Mum to one little girl called Felicity, I've decided to follow my dream of representing the UK at the Galaxy International finals in America. If you're new to pageants Galaxy is a beauty pageant system (like Miss World, Miss Universe, etc) where ladies compete in various age categories (Junior Miss, Miss Teen, Miss, Ms and Mrs) in a number of different rounds throughout a day and evening. While all the excitement seems to happen on one day there is actually a lot of work that goes into the preparations. I have competed in the Miss category twice before having my daughter and I am now a Ms (over 27) so I know the amount of work I am letting myself in for. Like many things in life you get out what you put in, so for me it's important to enjoy the journey. I was very full-on when I competed before, but this time round I'm now a mumma and that changes things. I'm first and foremost a mummy, but that doesn't stop me following my dreams and achieving my goals. I just have to plan things much more carefully. I meet so many mums that delay their dreams for so long because of their kids. Many of them for so long that they never get back to it. I wanted to create this website and podcast to not only document my journey and share the expert advice I receive along the way (sharing is caring) but to inspire other mummas to follow their dreams no matter how crazy they might seem.
How did I start in pageants?
In 2015 I watched my very first live beauty pageant. Two days later I took to that same stage to compete in my very first beauty pageant. I had zero idea what I was getting myself into. While watching the first crowning, on the first night I cried. I had watched all these wonderful young ladies (via the Facebook group) work so hard in preparation of this moment. I was hooked. I returned the following year and went from a no one, with no clue to a passionate pageant girl. Galaxy girl to be exact. I placed top 10 of over 70 ladies on the night and was blown away. I felt like I was done, to be honest. I knew I would continue to watch Galaxy, but I wasn't sure I would compete. Between my 1st and 2nd times at Galaxy, I had lost my mum and I needed some time. I joked that I would return when I had a daughter to compete with. At the time believing I couldn't have children. My break from pageants quickly ended and I signed up to compete the following year, thanks in great part to Bella (Miss Galaxy 2016). However, it was not to be, but for all good reasons. A few months after signing up I discovered I was pregnant.
COMPETING IN PAGEANTS
What does preparing for a pageant mean?
Preparations vary from system to system and what you want to get out of competing. While my overriding goal is to represent the UK at the finals (which means winning the UK title first) a title is not the only thing I want to get out of competing. If that's all you want from competing you will never truly win and you will miss so many good things. I have met some amazing friends, built confidence, learnt to dress my body type, improved my interview skills and much more. I've also raised around £3000 for The Christie (Galaxy UK's chosen charity) and supported many other charities and community events. Charity and community is a big part of it for me. But this took up so much time when I competed before. Then it was time away from the sofa or at worst my other half. Now it would mean time away from my daughter and I am just not game for that. In fact, I'm writing this while she has a blast running around the little soft play at our gym. So I will be looking for child-friendly appearances and aiming for one or two big charity events instead of the many smaller ones of the past.
There are also obvious clothing preparations. Galaxy has 3 on stage rounds (Swimwear, fashion wear and evening wear), an on-stage open number (this section isn't judged but includes a simple dance and introducing yourself) and then an interview, which is done during the rehearsals on the day. So that's 5 outfits. Then there is a workshop the day before that you don't have to do, but I want to. And then also two other finals nights I'll want to be in an evening gown for. I had a fair amount of pageant bits pre-baby but unsurprisingly nothing fits how it used to. Which leads me on to my last area of preparation.
Galaxy is great for many reasons (which I'll touch on below), but one of them is how to celebrate women of all shapes and sizes. There is no standard body type to win a Galaxy crown. That doesn't mean that I won't be "getting in shape" for the Galaxy stage. I want to step out with confidence. I struggled with my weight for years and finally turned a corner in 2013, prompted by my mum getting sick from Cancer. When I last competed in 2016 I was in the best shape of my life, but I still wasn't where I wanted to be. My body had taken years of food and lack of fitness-related abuse. You don't just recover from that in a few years. Having a baby (a 9lbs 5 baby in fact) obviously changed my body beyond belief. I wasn't back to square one as such, but it has felt a bit like an uphill struggle. I am now training and (mainly) eating the way I want to, so I know the body I want to have is within my reach if I stay focused. The deadline of Galaxy is a great way to stay focused. My "Galaxy Body" goals include a tighter tummy, defined arms and some shape to my butt. But these are my goals. These are the things that I know will give me (personally) confidence. They are not what is expected or required by Galaxy.
As I said above they celebrate all body types, but they also accept a larger age range than most (no upper limit) and you can be married, divorced, have a baby, have 10 and it doesn't matter. There's a place for everyone.
The charity side is very important to me and I love the work of The Christie (a cancer charity, based in northern England), so that was a big part of what reinforced my connection to Galaxy.
Then there are the amazing people involved in Galaxy. From the company who run it to the ladies that compete. Everyone is so encouraging and supporting. It's women power at it's best.