PAGEANT organisers aren’t clowning around when it comes to finding Miss Sunderland.
They are looking for a girl with both brains and beauty to wave the flag for the city at Miss England next year.
A parade of stilt walkers, jugglers and a ring-master brought shoppers to a standstill as they launched the search with a circus-theme at The Bridges yesterday.
At the helm of the procession was reigning Miss Sunderland, Rebecca Mason, 20, from Grindon, who will represent Wearside at Miss England this year.
“I’ll be helping to judge Miss Sunderland this year, which I’m really excited about,” she said.
“We’re looking for someone with a nice personality, who is bubbly and warm, who is a natural beauty.”
Rebecca won a place in last year’s Miss Sunderland final after being spotted by chance in The Bridges.
Model scouts asked her to apply and it led to her winning and becoming a model.
She will head to Torquay to compete against pageant princesses from across the country at the Miss England finals in June.
She’s hoping to emulate, or even improve on, the success of last year’s Miss Sunderland, Tamzin Cummings from Ashbrooke, who came third overall – the highest-ranking Miss Sunderland yet.
Organiser Simon Robertson, from Headline Events, said: “I think Rebecca has a great chance. A year of being Miss Sunderland has given her some great modelling experience and boosted her confidence and she has a great presence.
“My ultimate ambition is for Miss Sunderland to be Miss England and then Miss World.”
Harry Hall from Reds hairdressing, who is also co-organising the contest, said: “Tamzin came third last year, so this year we could have a girl from Sunderland become Miss England. You never know.”
The organisers are looking for about 30 girls, who will be chosen from six heats, to compete in the Miss Sunderland 2014 final which will take place at Rainton Meadows Arena on May 24.
The final will feature various themes, including an eco round where girls will wear a dress they have designed and made based on an environmental theme. Eveningwear will also feature.
As the competition hots up, scouts will be out and about to spot girls they think have “the look”.
Three of the six heats will take place at The Bridges, the soon-to-be-opened Life of Riley bar in Sunderland and the Opal Lounge in South Shields.
Simon added: “Miss Sunderland is not just about beauty and has taken on a life of its own outside of being a straight-forward modelling competition.
“Of course looks are important, but what the judges also want to see is girls who have a good personality.
“In many ways, beauty from within is key. Finding someone with a big heart is important.
“Rebecca had no modelling experience, but she has a fantastic look and a great personality which really shone out, she was perfect for us.”
l Competition rules mean applicants must be aged 17 to 24, not married or have children, and must not have posed nude or topless.
l Visit www.missunderland.co.uk for more information and an entry form.