A KU dance graduate made it through to the semi-final heat of Miss England, after entering the competition for fun.
Grace Smithen is representing Kingston, her home since she began her course at the University, in the semi-final of Miss England.
The 25-year-old hopes to use the Miss England platform to promote the need for increased arts funding. If she wins she plans to use the £100,000 prize money to open her own dance school for children.
Grace said: “It’s always been a dream of mine to open up a dance school and if I got through then I would use both the publicity and the prize money to help funding in the arts community.”
The graduate, who is pursuing her career in dance whilst working closely with KU as a fundraising co-ordinator, did not expect to get as far in the competition as she has.
“I saw the advertisement a few months ago and thought, why not? I was shocked when I got through to the semi-final heat, but I am determined to give the competition everything I’ve got,” she said.
“I think the competition is a fantastic opportunity. I have experience with both modelling and fundraising, and thought the competition would really let me display my skill set.
“I really want to use the competition to raise awareness of the need for funding in the arts community. As a dancer, this is a cause very close to my heart.”
Grace is aiming to raise awareness and promote the need for arts funding and she aspires to be a role model for children wanting to pursue a career in the arts.
Miss England is the only competition in the UK where the winner will be entered into the Miss World competition which will be held in Washington DC.
Grace will also fundraise for the Miss World charity, Beauty with a Purpose.
Beauty with a Purpose’s sole aim is to offer aid to humanitarian projects across the world, and Grace will be hosting several events to fundraise for the charity.
“I am extremely excited and feel privileged to be raising money for the Miss England charity, Beauty with a Purpose. I feel extremely proud to be in a competition that made this charity possible,” said Grace.
Voting for the finalists in the second semi-final heat ends on November 30, and if Grace makes it through she will be going to Kelham Hall, Nottinghamshire for the semi-final on June 4, 2017.
Vote for Grace by texting: MISS SEMI05 to 63333 (texts cost 50p plus your standard network rate)’
You can follow Grace’s progress and keep updated through her Facebook page.