Beauty and brains: Glasgow grad in the running for Miss Scotland
‘You need to have drive’
Christina Chalk: Miss Scotland finalist, model, pharmacologist and handyman.
The recent Glasgow Uni graduate (she got a 2:1 in Pharmacology) is hoping to use Miss Scotland to raise awareness for her chosen charity MS Society, a subject she has a keen interest in after basing her dissertation around the illness.
She told The Tab: “We get to do a lot of charity work, and my science communications project fitted perfectly.
“During my final year, I became a STEM ambassador and carried out a science communication project in collaboration with the Glasgow Science Centre. The aim of my project was to develop an interactive activity to raise awareness of Multiple Sclerosis in the Scottish public.
“Miss Scotland is the perfect opportunity to really get the word out about MS. I do modelling and I have a degree in science and I’d never found a balance between them both until now.”
Previously achieving a place in the final 13 of Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model, the professional model is no stranger to being in front of the camera.
“A lot of people think pageants are all about beauty but a lot of the time they’re analysing everything you do: the way you look, the way you present yourself, the body language and it’s hard to nail that.
“It’s all about discipline. It’s almost training you for life. I would say it was about 50/50 between looks and everything else. If you have the looks but have nothing about you, you’re not going to win. You need to be intelligent, and have done things with your life. You need to have drive.”
Another winning factor is (of course) pride in being Scottish. Christina told us she’s proud of the amazing achievements fellow Scots have managed in recent years.
“We’re such a small population but we’ve achieved so many huge things. We’ve got so many successful sportsmen, we have so many successful scientists, we’ve had incredible people coming out of Glasgow Uni. Emeli Sandé was here studying medicine and now she’s gone through the roof with her music. We have so many inspiring people coming from such a small place and there’s so much history behind our country. I love it here.”
There’s no pageant without pampering and Miss Scotland is no different, but Christina’s tastes are very down to earth. We asked her what she’s spent on clothes and makeup for the event and her answer was surprisingly boring.
“I’ve not spent a huge amount. I got a few pairs of more sensible-looking shoes. No clubbing heels for me. Just normal high street stuff really, I get a lot of stuff from Zara and H&M. I love Zara. As for make-up, for a lot of the shoots we have to do our own.”
Now she’s finished with university, Christina is ready for the big, bad, tax-paying world, but she’s still learning from the Miss Scotland process.
“It’s preparing me at the moment to live a healthier life, I’ve started to go to the gym more and I’ve started to eat much more healthily than I ever did at university. Also we have to speak in front of hundreds of people on the night, answering questions we’ve never seen before so I feel like it’s also preparing us all for job interviews, and teaching us how to present ourselves well. I feel a lot more together now than I did at university.”
Of course, the main benefit for Christina is the money she’s able to raise for the MS Society through fundraising events on the Miss Scotland campaign trail.
“As well as raising money for vital MS research, I’m also really keen to promote the Science ambassador scheme and to inspire more young students to get involved in science-based subjects because there’s been a decline in students applying for them.”
“I don’t think a lot of people get that pageant contestants do charity work. I’ve got a really cool idea to raise awareness so I’m really excited to kind of get that kicked off.”
As if Christina didn’t buck the traditional beauty queen stereotype enough with her research, her current day job is even more surprising: she’s basically a handyman.
“I work for a woman who does interior design so we do a lot of manual labour. I’m painting, I’m sanding, I’m building roofs. I’m so serious right now.”
Forget Scotland, the world is this girl’s oyster.