Introducing Chloe Brown our newly crowned Miss Southport
Unbelievable. Amazing. Breathtaking. I can’t choose the word to describe the experience I’ve had in becoming Miss Southport 2016. There’s too many emotions and not enough words! Too many people to thank and not enough space! Too many good memories… I’m drifting off – I feel like I’m dreaming. So happy. So proud. So thankful. It’s truly been something wonderfully special for me, and I’d love to share this experience with you – who I am and how this all happened – because through this competition I have been able to achieve so much, that I hope it can inspire others to do the same.
“You have to dream before your dreams can come true.” – A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
So who am I? My name is Chloe Brown and I live in Southport. I’ve always been shy and never had much confidence in myself, but I’ve always been passionate about helping other people; my dream is to become a nurse, so I study full time at King George V College and work at the Hollies Rest Home looking after older residents. It was my Mum who entered me into Miss Southport after one of her friends tagged her on a Facebook post. I imagined it would involve immaculate girls parading in small bikinis and that I was not the type of girl who would fit well in this environment – I wanted to help bathe pensioners and put them to bed, not strut down a catwalk being judged!
Fortunately, we quickly learned that the entire Miss England competition comprises of so much more than a shallow beauty pageant; They celebrate each and every girl who enters for their work effort in fundraising for charity, their personality working with people within their local community and setting a positive example for other young women and girls out there through various media formats and social media activities. It was this aspect of entering, the opportunity to engage in helping people that convinced me to enter, because regardless of where I came in the elimination process, at least I would have something to reflect back on and be proud of the effort I put into it.
Coming up with ideas for raising money and awareness for Variety the Children’s Charity was the easy part; Variety is such a good cause for all the work they do on behalf of disadvantaged children. They provide travel coaches, wheelchairs and other specialist equipment amongst many other things for kids with any type of difficulty in their life. Being shy and nervous approaching people and asking for support and donations was the hard part, but in my mind Variety was all the motivation I needed to push out of my comfort zone and start getting involved in activities I would never have dreamed of doing myself before. If ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ was the message at the heart of Miss England, then my purpose was in the potential to do something that could help Variety change a young person’s life for the better.
This is the part about this experience I enjoyed the most; the love and support from my friends and family was overwhelming, and through each fundraising activity we held (from charity car washes, to cake bake sales, to community raffles), more and more people from the local community got involved and gave such generous donations. I may have been hesitant to approach people at first, but with each passing day I found each and every single person I was fortunate to meet and offer their support were making me feel a confidence and level of comfort within myself that I had never experienced before, and I can’t quite put that into words. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
Claire Simmo, a presenter from Radio City 96.7 attended my raffle and gave a speech full of the warmest words and nicest compliments I’ve ever heard about my family and everything we were doing in this competition. Not just her words, but the way she delivered them made this moment so memorable for me, because it was in this moment that Claire inspired me to dream bigger; that my dreams of succeeding in Miss Southport could be a reality, and combined with how grateful I was to every single person who offered their support, made a donation or even just liked my Facebook page, it was like the fire to repay how everyone had made me feel and succeed for them was lit.
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
This competition has provided me with so many new oppurtunities and so many new things to learn: I was invited to take part in the Southport Fashion Show, which was both exciting and fantastic, but also taught me so much about what it would be like to experience being on a stage and catwalk infront of an audience.
I got to design my own ecowear dress out of recyclable materials to wear at the Southport Food and Drink Festival; each finalist could select any period of traditional english fashion as the basis of their design and I chose the Victorian era because I wanted my dress to signify Southport’s roots as a Victorian town.
No-matter what challenge I would be given in this competition, I wanted Southport, the community I’ve grown up in, and everybody supporting me to be at the heart of everything I do. I got to meet the people at Southport Football Club and be given an honorary kit to wear at the Miss Southport Final sportswear presentation.
I got to take part in organising support for a British Army shoe box appeal which, although was outside the fundraising of the competition, was something I was determined to put all my energy into alongside the work I was doing for Variety. In response to this, the army gave me a personal message of thanks along with a photo recognising all the work that I’d done. I was so proud and full of emotion when that happened!
I got to make friends with girls who each had beautiful personalities, caring hearts and the same desire to make a positive impact in peoples’ lives as I had. They helped me feel like I was part of a family and that we were all in this together. I got to listen to the winners of Miss Lancashire, Miss Preston and Miss North West, who had all been through the same process we had. It made such a big difference on the night of the final having their support in front of hundreds of people in the audience!
I still can’t believe how fun the night of the final was; the audience was so lively and the atmosphere was charged with positivity – it was electric!
We modelled sportswear, party dresses and evening wear, along with our eco wear dresses. I loved wearing my Southport FC kit and my party and evening dresses were lovely too, but it was the eco wear dress presentation which was my favourite. Each of us had selected a different era of fashion and style, which meant the diversity of unique ideas and creations all the girls came up with was stunning, and the crowd loved all of them! We celebrated everything from 1940’s working women to 1980’s disco; from designs made using leaves, feathers and seashells to concepts utilising paper, cardboard and plastic cups. Every dress was original and every girl was gorgeous modelling them.
In my eyes, every girl at Sunday’s final was a winner; by the end of this competition I had learned just how wrong my fear of parading and being judged on looks had been – the amount of hard work and sacrifice each of us had made, aswell as our school, college, uni, work and family commitments was astonishing. On top of that, there was nothing superficial about being a Miss – it was who we were that mattered!
Each of us were recognised over the course of the evening, and the audience was so supportive which helped a lot!
As well as the dress presentations and the chance to talk on the mic about our eco wear and a little bit about ourselves, Caroline, Jenna and Rose each sang live on stage – I thought they were so brave and beautiful to listen to!! Rose is a great friend of mine and we’ve been close even before this competition began, so to have her company, support and share the same experiences I have has been so special as we navigated our way to the final.
The evening finished with an awards ceremony where Keeley won Miss Publicity, Amy won Miss Popularity, Robyn won Miss Personality, Lauren won best eco wear dress design and I won Miss Charity.
I’m still so proud of this award because it wasn’t something I did on my own – The £1719.80 I managed to raise for Variety was just as much of an achievement for every single person who donated and offered support over the previous 12 weeks – it was an award we won together! On the night of the final we found out that every penny raised in the North West will go directly to children who need it in the North West. So, so happy!
And as for the announcement of Miss Southport, I still can’t quite believe how it unfolded. I was sat with Destiny still in awe of Lauren finishing third and Keely finishing second – both so beautiful and who I had in mind as potential winners. The next thing I knew, Miss Preston came over to us and held our hands, asking us to stand up – we were oblivious that this might be preparation for one of us to go on stage – we were so caught in the moment, then… WOW!!
Nothing could have prepared me for that moment, and even now I struggle to find the words to convey what it was like. All I know is, the support I’ve had from EVERYONE is what got me through this competition. Every person who donated to my charity events, everybody who liked, commented, or shared something on my Facebook page, anyone who’s part of the Southport Community who’s come up to me and wished me well, every person that’s given me help or advice, or boosted my confidence with kind words, everyone involved in the organisation and production of such a life-changing event that is Miss England and who made every girl feel so special, Yaffe photography for supporting me all the way through the entire selection process, Claire Simmo from Radio City who gave me belief in myself going forward, and all the people who wanted me to succeed even if they couldn’t be there – THANK YOU SO MUCH!
I am truly honoured to represent Southport and all the good values the community promotes.
So what next? This whole experience has taught me that no-matter who you are, or how shy you may be, you CAN succeed and achieve great things if you have the right people surrounding you. I may have the title, but the credit for it goes to the people that got me here. I want to go forward and hopefully inspire other girls out there who want to feel confident in themselves for who they are, and hopefully encourage others to give this competition a try next year, because there are so many benefits, positive experiences, and new challenges that have a lasting impact on confidence and personal development as an individual. I’ve come such a long way in 6 weeks!I want to repay the kindness everybody in Southport has shown towards me and represent them in Miss England. I want to use the inspiration regarding fundraising of Miss Preston’s achievements in being part of a group which raised over £500,000 for good causes over the course of 5 years, and continue using this competition on behalf of making a difference on behalf of those who truly need it. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading and learning a little more about me because this this experience has also let me learn a little more about myself too!
Your Miss Southport 2016, Chloe xxx