Isla hopes to be the golden girl at finals

Isla Laidlaw
Isla Laidlaw
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A Sunderland beauty queen is hoping to paint Miss England red and white.

Isla Laidlaw, 19, from Tunstall, is set to battle it out at the Miss England semi-finals in Nottinghamshire on Sunday against more than 60 other budding beauty queens from across the country.

As part of the competition, the student has spent the past four months making a dress for the Eco Round, in which contestants must wear an eco-friendly outfit.

Though the final result of her handiwork will be revealed on the night, she says she’s used her old bedroom curtains and egg boxes donated from her sponsor, The Harvester in Ryhope, to create the dress which has to have a Lady in Red theme.

Isla, who is studying biomedical science at Sunderland University, will be competing as Miss 24 Carat, named after a Sunderland beauty salon.

She won the title after coming second in Miss Sunderland last summer and will be travelling to this week’s contest with the Miss Sunderland winner Jen Wilson. As well as the Miss Eco round, they’ll compete in the Miss Charity round, for which Isla has raised £600.

She said: “As Miss Sunderland was held last year I’ve had a whole year to prepare and have done a series of fundraising activities, such as having a non-uniform day at my former school, Southmoor Academy, and doing a zip wire off the Tyne Bridge. I’ve also held a series of raffles.”

She added: “I’m really excited about the Miss Eco round because I spent months making my dress, with the help of my mam. This has been the biggest pageant I’ve done so far, I’m still fairly new to it. I’m feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement but I’m really looking forward to it. I’m going to just go with the flow and see what happens.”

If Isla makes it through the weekend’s semi-finals, she’ll win a place in Miss England, the country’s biggest beauty pageant.

Isla said: “It would be amazing to make it to Miss England as the winner of that competes in Miss World in China, but being in the semi-finals is an achievement in itself.

The Miss England semi-finals also features a Miss Popularity round, which gives members of the public the chance to vote for their favourite. Being named Miss Popularity helps give the winner a head start in the competition.

To vote for Isla you can text MISS SEMIFINAL26 to 63333. Texts cost 50p plus standard network rate.