We spoke to Cardiff Uni’s very own Miss Wales 2022 finalist

The pageant empowers women while raising money for the Miss World charity ‘Beauty with a Purpose’

Mia, an Accounting and Finance Masters student at Cardiff University has been selected as a finalist in the Miss Wales 2022 beauty pageant. The Tab Cardiff spoke to her about the pageant and the experience she is gaining through it.

The 21-year-old is originally from Port Talbot and has a degree in Business Management from Cardiff University, she told The Cardiff Tab she was in the middle of a Master’s also in Cardiff: “To eventually become a qualified chartered accountant after university.” Apart from studying, being a finalist for the Miss Wales pageant, Mia likes to go to the gym as much as possible.

Miss Wales is a beauty pageant focused on empowering women, all while raising money for the Miss World charity Beauty with a Purpose which fundraises for disadvantaged children around the world. Miss Wales and the organisation as a whole is not about judging girls by their looks, but how well they can be an ambassador and role model for women.

Why did you decide to participate in a beauty pageant?

Mia told The Cardiff Tab: “I hadn’t really done a lot of research into pageantry, so when I came across Miss Wales online I was interested, and applied on a whim thinking nothing would come of it, so I was very surprised when I got an interview.

“After doing lots of reading about Miss Wales about the philanthropic good they have done for charity, and other finalist’s past experiences, I thought that it was a good opportunity to use the voice I was being given to spread messages of female empowerment and turn around the negative perceptions of pageantry and women being confident.  I would like to encourage women to not be shy to enter industries stereotypically perceived as ‘masculine’ such as STEM subjects or Finance, like myself, where they might be overlooked.

“I was very nervous going into the application process, and pushed myself to do it, going outside of my comfort zone. I’ve also never done anything like this before, and it’s the perfect opportunity to meet girls like myself with the same values of feminism and want to be able to give something to society. It will also help build my own confidence which I struggle with.”

How has your Miss Wales journey been so far and what has been the most fun part about it?

Mia said that due to Covid-19, they had not been able to partake in many activities and fundraising yet: “We have a lot coming up in the very near future to be excited for. There will be lots of public appearances and of course the final which will be on stage in front of lots of people.

“I have really enjoyed speaking and getting to know the other finalists, and planning potential fundraising events we can do together. I think Miss Wales will really help improve my self-esteem and anxiety around social events, so this is really important for me.”

How do you feel about being a finalist? Is there something you’d like to say to everyone?

Mia told us that she was initially very nervous but got excited the more she familiarised herself with the process and other girls: “I feel very lucky to have got this far and to have been given this responsibility to represent Wales and inspire women to be more confident.

“So far I have learnt that pageants like Miss Wales have turned the outdated image of such events on its head, not pinning girls against each other but encouraging them to come together to raise money and celebrate femininity. Finalists are focussed on raising money for this charity from now to the final, and also taking part in lots of activities and events like the Women’s Aid training to spot domestic violence, and a charity high heeled walk in Cardiff Bay. I don’t feel like I’m competing against any of the other finalists at all, but that we’re all in it together having fun while working for a good cause.

“The only thing I would say is to not jump to conclusions when it comes to pageantry and see it as something negative. They have raised so much money for charity, as well as helping girls in Wales boost their confidence, empowering them to do things they would not have done before. I’m very excited for the upcoming fun and once in a lifetime experiences I am going to have that would not otherwise be possible.

What are your plans after the pageant?

If she was to win Miss Wales, she would go on to compete in the following Miss World competition: “I would use my time as Miss Wales to attend lots of events and continue to fundraise for Beauty With A Purpose, making as much positive impact as possible until the next Miss Wales is crowned. Miss World would give be an even bigger platform to get the message of Beauty With A Purpose out there.

“If I do not win, I want to be able to use this increased recognition I would gain from competing in the final to continue to partake in charity work and fundraising as much as I can. I have never been able to do anything like this before, and after this experience I will not be stopping anytime soon.”

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