The finalists of a new Miss England preliminary contest encouraging greater racial diversity in the beauty pageant have been revealed.
Director of Miss England Angie Beasley, who lives in Leicester, introduced the Miss All African Colours category earlier this year to highlight that the pageant is open to contestants from all communities.
Eight finalists have now been selected ahead of the glitzy ceremony at the Nollywood Entertainment Studios in London, where the face of All African Colours will be revealed.
The contestants are graduate Rehema Muthamia, 24, Afoluke Adedapo, 27, who is an accountant, Aminata Sow, 23, a graduate advisor, paralegal Anglee Kumar, 25, Frankie Stewart, 20, Moshida Khalifah, 24, who is a private care clerk, Paige Ashton, 25, who is a senior analyst and singer Zara-Lucy Whitehead, 22.
The winner will receive a place in the Miss England national pageant as well as become the face of luxury handbag brand, All African Colours.
Miss England has revealed the finalists of their All African Colours pageant, as the category is introduced to celebrate diversity. Pictured: Paige Ashton, 25, from London, who is a senior analyst
Director of Miss England Angie Beasley said the category aims to highlight that the pageant is open to people from all communities. Pictured right: Afoluke Adedapo, 27, from Middlesborough who is an accountant
Each contestant has posed for photographs wearing traditional African attire to promote the pageant on the All African Colours Instagram page and many have spoken to local newspapers to boost their votes for the competition.
Rehema Muthamia, 24, who lives in Luton but has roots in Kenya and has a master’s in genetics, told Luton Today that they’ve formed a sisterhood and are excited for the next heat.
‘The campaign is to have more diversity and to be more representative of the UK, so I thought it was a great opportunity. As contestants, it’s been a beautiful experience and we’ve formed a sisterhood,’ she said.
Each hopeful had to send a photograph and explanation why they want to enter the competition. Pictured left: Anglee Kumar, 25, who is a paralegal, pictured right: Moshida Khalifah, 24, who is a NHS private care clerk
Frankie Stewart, 20, (pictured) from Hastings, told the pageant she has learned the meaning of of community by getting involved in local events
Rehema Muthamia, 24, (pictured) who lives in Luton, said taking part in the competition has been a ‘beautiful experience’ and the contestants have formed a sisterhood
To enter the competition hopefuls had to send a photograph of themselves along with a list of their talents and an explanation for why they want to be chosen.
Aminata Sow who lives in Bolton revealed to a local newspaper that she took part in the competition not because she believes she’s beautiful but to offer representation.
The introduction of the All African Colours category in the competition follows a year where many organisations considered if their company needs to improve diversity in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The current Miss England Bhasha Mukherjee is the first Indian born winner of the national title and was crowned after winning the Asian Face category in the pageant.
Zara-Lucy Whitehead, 22 (pictured centre) from East London, told the pageant her mother showed her how to be a strong Nigerian woman
The Mail Online previously reported the NHS doctor threatening to sue two former winners of the pageant because of remarks they made about her, revealing being crowned winner comes with its challenges.
However, since Bhasha’s win the competition has seen an increase in the number of women from Asian backgrounds who are willing to enter.
Announcing the newest category on the Miss England website, Angie said: ‘It’s difficult to get the message across to all communities that anyone from any ethnicity can enter as long as they can abide by the rules and hold a British passport.’
The finalists are fundraising for various charities ahead of the next heat, with the live final set to be live streamed on 19 December with tickets costing £7.99.
Angie said it’s difficult to get the message across that all communities can enter the contest. Pictured: Aminata Sow, 23, (pictured left) who is a graduate advisor