From Top-Top to tiaras: Meet the Exeter graduate who’s vying for the Miss England crown

After graduating last summer, Charlotte Giles won the Miss Hampshire beauty pageant and is set to compete in the Miss England finals


Charlotte Giles is aching all over. The night before we speak, she was honing her acrobatics at a circus school in Woolwich.

“I’ve done the flying trapeze before, on holiday when I was younger. It took a few goes to get back into it but I had the hang of it by the end!”

It’s a far cry from what most of us would do on a Friday night. But Exeter graduate Charlotte is the newly crowned Miss Hampshire, set to challenge for the title of Miss England at the finals in Devon next month. The flying trapeze is her talent for the competition.

“Just having graduated and started a new job, it’s a great opportunity to get my teeth into something else,” Charlotte says.

“My mum used to do them when she was younger. She really enjoyed doing it and I’ve had so much fun so far – it’s amazing to have reached the final.”

(c) David Freeman

The Miss England pageant will see 17-24-year-old women from up and down the country judged across various categories such as fitness and services to charity.

The contest has met criticism in the past, with Torbay MP Adrian Sanders claiming it “exploits the female form” – an assertion that Charlotte wholeheartedly rejects.

“Miss England is a great opportunity for girls who are all-rounders, who take care of themselves and raise money for charity, to all get together in the name of the Miss World charity,” she says.

“It opens lots of doors and gives them a platform to do a lot of great things. I don’t see how that’s exploitative.”

Charlotte won her Miss Hampshire tiara back in March

This year sees the introduction of a quiz round, at the behest of incumbent Miss England Kirsty Heslewood.

That shouldn’t faze Char, who achieved a 2.1 in Classics from Exeter last summer.

Charlotte’s mum Tracie also used to do pageants

This is her first attempt at making her name on the pageant scene. “I was really busy studying at uni and had so much work on at the time…I’m really busy with work now, but it’s easier to balance doing Miss Hampshire things at the weekend with working in the week.”

She tells us that after three years extensively researching at Exeter, her favourite club is Timepiece.

As someone who keeps charity close to her heart, she’s also sad to see the back of what was RAG’s flagship event, the SSB.

“I loved the Safer Sex Ball, I had a great time there.

Charlotte, second right, at what hopefully wasn’t one of the last ever SSBs

“It was all in the name of a great cause so I think it’s really disappointing that they’re not running it this year.”

Charlotte now works for her mum’s cosmetics company in London, Tracie Giles Bespoke Permanent Make Up, whose star-studded clientele includes Katie Price, Bianca Gascoigne and literally every female TOWIE cast member you can think of.

Tracie Giles (left) with Char and some of her celebrity clients

Since winning her title in March, Charlotte has relished her time as Miss Hampshire. Headed to a lunch at Hampshire Rugby Club when we spoke, she is also set to attend a military-style boot camp next week.

Then at the weekend, she’s set to a latte art competition at England rugby captain’s Chris Robshaw’s Winchester café.

Charlotte with Hampshire Rugby Club

“Winchester is my favourite part of Hampshire. My best friend lives there, and I love the cathedral, so I’ve spent a lot of time there.”

After ploughing through controversy, Char is settling into her role and preparing to take on her competitors in Torquay. But what does she make of her chances?

“I think all of the finalists have a chance so I’m looking forward to the final,” she says.

A careful and well-balanced answer. What else would you expect from a trapeze artist?