Beauty pageant launched at disused Sunderland railway line

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FROM rundown to runway – a disused railway line in Hendon helped launch a contest which will set Wearside wannabes on the road to a modelling career.

Reigning Miss 24 Carat Holly Lyons, from Easington Colliery, launched next year’s competition at the industrial site to fit in with its urban chic theme.

Run by Sunderland businesswoman Jodie Breeds, who owns 24 Carat Salon in Grangetown, the contest hopes to find girls from Wearside and further afield capable of winning the Miss England crown.

Former Byron sixth form pupil Holly competed as the first ever Miss 24 Carat in this year’s national beauty pageant.

“Miss England was an amazing experience,” said the 18-year-old.

She added: “Being Miss 24 Carat has given me loads of opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’ve done lots of photo shoots for magazines and newspapers since winning the title.”

Holly hit the headlines in the national media after appearing at Miss England in a dress made from hair for the contest’s environmentally-friendly dress round.

Jodie says she is hoping to make Miss 24 Carat 2013 even bigger and better.

“This year we had a Hollywood glamour theme, but for the 2013 contest we wanted to go with something completely different which is why we chose the urban street-style theme,” she explained.

She added: “The finalists will have a photo shoot with Scott Spock Photography and will be styled in street fashion.”

Entries are now invited for the final which will take place at Bannatyne Hotel in Darlington on April 13.

Jodie said: “We are holding the final in an area where they haven’t had a Miss England heat before, but because this title is a brand title, as opposed to an area title, girls from anywhere can enter.

“We are looking for a naturally pretty girl who can represent the brand as well as Holly did.”

As well as qualifying for Miss England 2013, the winner of Miss 24 Carat will win a portfolio worth £1,500 with Sunderland-based Scott Spock Photography.

Scott said: “This is a huge opportunity for a girl interested in working in fashion, hair and beauty. We still use a few of the finalists from last year’s contest as our models.

“The change in some of them from when they first enter the competition to when they compete in the final is so dramatic. It really boosts their confidence.”

l To enter Miss 24 Carat you have to meet the Miss England rules which are: aged 17 to 24, unmarried and have no children. To fill in your entry form visit www.missengland.info/.

Twitter: @sunechokaty