Meet the budding beauty queen hoping to fly the flag for Sunderland

Isla Laidlaw is hoping to be crowned Miss Sunderland on Saturday night
Isla Laidlaw is hoping to be crowned Miss Sunderland on Saturday night

A student is juggling her bookwork with hitting the catwalk in a bid to win a coveted crown.

Isla Laidlaw, 18, from Tunstall, is the only girl from the city competing in Saturday's Miss Sunderland and District final which takes place at The Point in Holmeside.

The teenager is one of 13 young women competing for the title which will gain them automatic entry into the Miss England final.

As well as preparing to strut her stuff in the contest, Isla’s been revising for A Levels in biology, chemistry and geography which she’s in the midst of sitting at Southmoor Academy Sixth Form.

Isla, who hopes to gain a place at university, said: “It has been stressful and a bit of a juggling act, but Miss Sunderland has actually given me a break from revising.”

As part of her entry into the competition, which features a Miss Charity round, Isla has been raising funds for Beauty With A Purpose, the official charity of Miss England, as well as Sunderland Women’s Refuge.

Isla, who is being sponsored by Noble’s Funfairs, said: “It’s the first time I’ve applied for anything like this. I actually entered last year but missed the cut off point, so this is my first one.

“I thought I’d try again for the confidence boost and that it would be a great experience. And it has been. We’ve taken part in a bootcamp for the Miss Sportswoman round and I made the top three of the Miss Top Model round already.

“For Miss Charity I held a nonuniform day at school and I’ve been asking people for donations to make up emergency packs for the refuge. It’s a cause I really wanted to help.”

If Isla is successful, she’ll compete in the country’s biggest beauty pageant, Miss England, which takes place in Stockport in July.

“I’m nervous, but really excited,” she said. “I already feel like I’ve gained a lot of confidence from the contest and I feel more independent already.

“I’m the only girl from Sunderland in the contest as the others are from Washington and the surrounding areas, so it would be an honour to win and fly the flag for my home city.”

Isla Laidlaw

Isla Laidlaw