Well, where do I begin? My first weeks as Miss Wales has been truly magical. I was crowned on the 16th of April 2016 and still to this day the evening is a blur.
The morning of the 17th of April, I returned to the Swansea Marriot hotel to be greeted by a familiar face, Paula. She congratulated me and before we could begin to discuss our excitement of the journey ahead we were excused by the Miss Wales of 1963, the gorgeous Hazel Williams. For a 69-year-old she looked incredible. And what put a smile on my face was her excitement and genuine love and passion for the Miss Wales pageant today. Shortly after, Harry Singha came to wish me luck, with a gift which was his book ‘WTF is going on’. Before he set off on his next adventure.
I then had an interview over the phone with Wales Online to ask about my experience during the Miss Wales final, what it feels like to be crowned and what are my plans for the rest of the day. I assumed by their reaction to the last question, they expected me to answer with plans to meet friends and family to celebrate my win but the reality was I had not been home for a few days and my very active Springer Spaniel, Charlie needed a long walk. So after Paula and I spoke, I headed out with Charlie.
My first appearance as Miss Wales was the store opening of Paloma at the St David’s shopping centre in Cardiff. My brother Rhodri joined me for company though I did not see him as he was enjoying the experience alongside Paula’s mother. We were shortly accompanied by Wenda my stylist who came along with me to help choose stylish outfits to showcase around the store. Not only that I was also told the outfits I chose were for me to keep and if I wished to take other clothing throughout the year to wear at events and functions I was welcomed to do so. How lucky am I? Nicola and her staff then asked me to cut the ribbon and for us to also have photos taken.
Not long after my first appearance I was packing my suitcase for a few days in Jersey in celebration of Julia Morley receiving her variety international humanitarian award. Before Paula and I flew the Friday morning, I attended a bridal catwalk event at Eva Ashley on the Thursday evening.
Early Friday morning Paula and I travelled with our flasks of tea to Bristol airport where neither of us could contain our excitement for the days ahead,
We stayed at the hotel Radisson Blu which looked over the sea and castle – it was beautiful! We ended the Friday evening with a dinner at the hotel restaurant with Miss England director Angie Beasley.
Before heading to bed I received a phone call to the room where I was told that I needed to be down at the lobby at 9:15am to be taken to rehearsals. As you can imagine and felt overwhelmed as I was invited as a guest at the show and not to be a part of it. I didn’t waste time worrying or stressing about what they will ask of me I got myself organised and chose an outfit given to me by Paloma which was a black and white polka dot dress with black tights, heels and a smart pink jacket. The morning of rehearsals I got myself ready early and Paula and I went down for breakfast before I met everyone at the lobby. As I first sat on the bus I was a little nervous as I was surrounded by unfamiliar faces and people I had yet to know. As each individual arrived on the bus, the bus filled with such positive energy and laughter. It was such a delight to sit back and take in all that was going on. One particular male stood out to me, his voice filled the bus with laughter his smile was contagious but he was softly spoken. I came to realise it was Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela also known as Chief. Whatever fears, nerves and worries I had soon lifted and I felt myself feel ever so grateful to be a part of what was going to be an amazing event put together for such the inspiring Julia Morley.
I met my idol former Miss World 2013 Megan Young who was one of the hosts for the evening. I also met the current Miss India who I will experience Miss World with at the end of this year.
The evening was filled with people sharing their experiences with Julia Morley and what she had done to help them help others. There was not one dry eye in the room. I remember trying to hold back my tears and in the meantime but bottom lip would start shaking. It was one of the most memorable experiences and I am so proud that I was not only able to witness the evening but make friends, take part and represent Wales, but to also meet and congratulate Julia Morley and Rio Ferdinand on their amazing awards.
On Sunday, Paula and I flew back to Bristol where I was preparing myself for my next appearance which was Monday morning in Cardiff at the BBC Radio Wales studio where Wynne Evans not only congratulated me on my title but also wanted to know the ins and outs of winning Miss Wales. Shortly after my radio interview I drove into the centre to meet Issy Howel who is studying documentary photography at an arts university in London. She interviewed me to know all I had been up to since being crowned, what it takes to be Miss Wales, what journey lies ahead and if girls out there wished to take part what advice would I give to them, but most important question was regards to Beauty WIth a Purpose. This question was the easiest. After spending the weekend at Julia Morley’s award ceremony I had so much to say and it also helped me create ideas to how I can raise money in months leading to miss world. Issy took photos of me in my crown and sash outside and inside the Cardiff library. A little while after Giovanni invited myself and a few others to lunch at his one of many restaurants at the Hayes in Cardiff. The food was immense and to be honest with you, I’d go as far as saying it’s the best Italian food I’ve eaten since my last visit to Italy. Throughout the whole meal we didn’t stop laughing. I came to learn that Giovanni’s got a big heart and does a lot for charity and others. He gave me advice and guidance and since that day I will forever be grateful for the support he still today gives me.
Then there was a film premier at Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli where I met Samira who was one of the leading actors. The film ‘By Any Name’ was very interesting. Based and filmed in wales it was fantastic to see the talent we have in wales be put on a big screen. Samira and the team did an amazing job and I wish them every success.
Later that week I had my first appointment with Bamboo Dental. I was overly excited to see Dan and the team as I hadn’t seen them since the final of Miss Wales. I had so much to tell them.
A visit to CF40 hair experience was a must. I had styled my hair every day since winning and the amount of product and heat applied to my hair I really needed to give it some TLC. I had a relaxing conditioning shampoo treatment, followed by a blow dry and style. The bounce and condition on my hair was more than I could have imagined. I felt like a princess without wearing my crown.
The day I had my hair done was the evening of the 10th anniversary of BulliesOut. Which Paula and I were delighted to attend. With all that they had achieved in the 10 years I was privileged to be a part of the year ahead. The evening was a success with many people arriving. Prosecco at the door with a room full of cupcakes and finger food. Being a food lover I was in my element.
The morning after the Bullies Out event Paula and I met with Maria the designer of Catherine Parry. Her and I had an in depth conversation about possible fabrics, colours and gowns I would wish to wear in miss world. My final gown sounds amazing and to think Maria is going out her way to not only design one but many dresses especially for me is a dream. I am so incredible lucky.
I now have a diary full of events for the month of June to look forward to!