Sunderland beauty queen wins national contest

Anya Gould with her Miss Intercontinental England crown.
Anya Gould with her Miss Intercontinental England crown.
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A Sunderland beauty queen has scooped one of the top crowns in the country.

Anya Gould, 21, from South Bents, has been named as Miss Intercontinental England at a national beauty pageant.

A shot from Anya's modelling portfolio

A shot from Anya's modelling portfolio

She beat off stiff competition from around the country to bring home the title at finals held in Lancashire.

It’s not the first time the MetroCentre shop assistant has had success on the catwalk. In 2013, she was named as Miss Sunderland and went on to place fourth in Miss Great Britain 2014/2015.

Anya, who is also a model with Headline Models, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I won. I’ve done a few beauty pageants now, but you never get rid of those nerves, you just have to go out there and do your best.

“We competed in rounds such as evening wear and swimwear, but it’s not just about appearance, it’s about how you hold yourself. I’ll go on to compete against title holders from around the world, which I’m looking forward to.”

It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to get involved with charity work and I’m hoping I can help to make a real difference.

Anya Gould, Miss Intercontinental England

As part of competing in pageants, Anya raises money for charity.

She chose to help the Stroke Association after her stepfather, Ray Stephenson, had a stroke in 2013, which left him with loss of vision and weakness in his left-hand side.

Ray was supported by the Stroke Association’s Family and Carer Support Service during his recovery, and the beauty queen is taking part in a number of fundraising activities to help it, including the Stroke Association’s Halloween Zip Wire.

She said: “It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to get involved with charity work and I’m hoping I can help to make a real difference. I don’t think people understand how much goes into pageants. I want to be a role model and encourage other young people.”

Anya winning Miss Sunderland in 2013. Photo by Rubicon Photography

Anya winning Miss Sunderland in 2013. Photo by Rubicon Photography

A shot from Anya's modelling portfolio

A shot from Anya's modelling portfolio