A KU dance graduate has been crowned Miss Kingston-upon-Thames 2017 and is ‘feeling confident’ about the upcoming semi-finals of Miss England.
Grace Smithen, 25, who also works for the university in the development, alumni relations and events (DARE) department, was awarded the title for her fundraising and devotion to the Kingston community.
She had a bake sale in her office and organised a pamper party to raise money for the Miss England charity, Beauty with a Purpose.
Grace said: “I was really happy and overwhelmed because I had worked hard for it. You have a lot to do and I did a whole month where my entire life became about Miss England. When you apply for something you always hope you’ll get far but you never know.”
The arts community is very close to her heart and she is keen to show her support for many of the university’s dance teams by getting involved in events and promoting them on social media.
“I’m a dancer and a model, both jobs which I know can be difficult and competitive.
“Jobs come and go and you can be putting all your efforts into creating your own piece and I want to use my role to help people get off the ground.”
Grace wants to share her passion with the Kingston community and her dream is to open her own dance school to encourage more people to take part in the arts culture.
In the run up to the Miss England semi-finals in June, Grace will be getting more involved with charities in Kingston, attend events in the community and meet with the Mayor to discuss how to improve our town.
“I would love to go through to the finals and see it all the way through, it would be brilliant.
“I’m feeling confident, I think, but at the moment my focus is on Miss Kingston and I know the semi-finals are happening and I am getting prepared for them, but if I don’t get any further then I will still be Miss Kingston no matter what happens.”