Miss Sunderland Jen Wilson is hoping it’s second time lucky as she represents the city at Miss England.
The 22-year-old flew the flag for Sunderland at the country’s biggest beauty pageant last year, scooping the Miss Eco title, but was pipped to the post for the overall crown.
Despite the Miss Sunderland competition not being run this year, Miss England director Angie Beasley was so impressed with Jen she asked her to retain her title and compete again this year.
She qualified for the finals, taking place in Birmingham next month, after being selected as a judge’s choice at the recent semi-finals.
Jen, who has just completed a four year teacher training degree at Sunderland University, said: “I was delighted to be asked by the director of the Miss England to extend the title, it shows she has faith in me. It was also nice to be put through this year by the judges themselves, and not just as a round winner, as it shows they see something in me as a person.”
Jen competed at the semi-finals in rounds including a Miss Eco round, which had a lady in red theme. For her eco-friendly entry Jen made a dress from recycled coke cans, complete with a coke can bouquet.
“It was amazing on the night,” she said. “I was one of 16 girls put through from the semi-finals and I’m so excited to compete in the finals for the second year running. There’s not long to go, but I’d already started preparing for the final, just in case. I definitely feel like I’ve learnt from the experience last year.”
Jen, from Gateshead, has been juggling her modelling with her degree and working as a shop assistant at Boux Avenue in the Metro Centre.
She said her friends and family have all been supportive of her pageant ambitions.
“My friends and family are all so proud, and their support means so much,” she said. “My dad’s company (mechanical engineering company Bassaire) have also been my sponsor, which has been a great help.”
The Miss England final, which will feature 50 women from across the country, will take place at Resorts World Birmingham from July 12-14.
Miss England national director Angie Beasley said: “The competition is about being beautiful inside and out, we are not just looking for a pretty face.”