Paula Abbandonato - Miss Wales director - October 2015

6 October 2015
Comments 0
6 October 2015, Comments 0

I am surprised quite frequently about some of the bizarre misconceptions that fly around about ‘Miss Wales’ so I’m going to try to put some of them to bed right now.

The first is costs. There is no admission cost to apply for Miss Wales, however if you do make the final, then there is a sponsorship fee of £500 plus vat which is covered by a corporate sponsor as a rule, and not yourself. Yes, you do need an evening dress for the final and of course girls love nice shoes etc but you don’t have to spend a fortune! There are lots of pageant swap/sell websites where you can pick up gowns for a fraction of the full price and many have only ever been worn once for an hour at another pageant. Of course, you can buy new if you want and that’s absolutely fine but please don’t let the cost of a dress put you off taking part when no-one is asking you to spend hundreds of pounds! There are other costs as well such as a ticket to the ball and your Miss Wales t-shirt pack but that is all you are obliged to buy.

The second is about weight and height. People ask me if there is a minimum height – the answer is no. We have had Miss Wales winners in recent years who are 5’3” and 5’11” – and everything in between. In terms of dress size, we are looking for a healthy weight unlike the modelling industry which demands skinny.

The third factor is often time. Well the truth is we all have the same amount of time – 24 hours in a day and we all choose how to spend it. Richard Branson, Angeline Jolie and everyone else only has 24 hours. If you are busy, that is great. I have seen the ‘busiest’ girls prosper through Miss Wales – as the old saying goes if you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right either way.

The fourth is age. The age range for Miss Wales is 17-24. You must be under 25 by the time of the Miss World final in the year that you are competing and at least 17. PLEASE don’t leave it too late to apply as the rules are the rules! I have lost count of the number of girls I have had to turn away because they are just a couple of months too old. The shame of it is that very often they have wanted to apply for years. Because they see being 24 as their last chance, they find the courage to apply – only to be told that it is too late because they will be 25 before the Miss World final.

The fifth and funniest is ‘bitchiness’: People ask if it is catty and spiteful! Hahaha! That could not be further from the truth. The warmth, positivity and togetherness I see amongst contestants year on year is off the scale! We are practically corny in our support for each other. Sounds too good to be true, I know, I know! BUT IT IS TRUE!

The sixth is what if I win? Well, wouldn’t that be a nice problem to have! What I tell girls is that being Miss Wales doesn’t make you rich and it doesn’t make you famous but it does give you a year like no other, experiences you will never forget or repeat, and the opportunity to join a rather select group of women who have been lucky enough to represent Wales on the international platform of Miss World. You don’t need to give up your job and you don’t need to delay your studies. We’ve even had a Miss Wales in recent years who completed the last year of a degree in medicine and qualified as a doctor in her year of reign.

If you have been telling yourself any of these ‘misconceptions’ to stop you from entering, then remove the ‘chimp’ that is chattering away in your mind (I got that from a book I read). The chimp is not real and it does not speak the truth. All it does is prevent you doing what you really want to do.

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