More th>n beauty

Former Miss Teen Lincolnshire Danielle Terry reveals how pageant queens can no longer rely on a pretty face.

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When former Miss Teen Lincolnshire Danielle Terry entered the world of pageantry, it’s fair to say that she did so with the same apprehensions that any of us would, unnerved by the stigmatized shadow that shows like Toddlers and Tiaras cast over the cat walk.

Most expect self-love to be the cynical reason for applying, rather than a beautiful consequence. It’s a lot easier to hate someone for loving themselves than it is to encourage it, and other than masking disguised jealousy, I’ll never understand why.

Danielle at the Miss Teen Great Britain final in 2015
Danielle at the Miss Teen Great Britain final in 2015 – Paul Carrol – Monsignor Photographic

I went to secondary school with Danielle, and for someone who struggled greatly with self-image, I’d never have predicted pageantry as being the next stage in her life.

“They are not just looking for pretty girls. It’s about your confidence and grace. Nothing is about the face. Even when I had my makeup on, I still made sure I looked like me.”

The more she refuted the term ‘beauty’ pageant, the more intrigued I became. However, after reading their ethos, Miss Teen Great Britain was far different to what I’d expected.

With 50% of the overall score reliant on a successful interview, it was clear that character was important. This is far from the “How would you save the world?” rehearsed answers that judges can sob over. No, this is a real character exploration. Winning is something they earn through effort and experience, not through a spray tan and flippers.

Expanding on such experiences, she explained the plethora of charity work that the girls get involved in prior to the final. Last years contestants raised over £40,000 for Together For Short Lives.

Danielle collecting donations for Together For Short Lives.
Danielle collecting donations for Together For Short Lives.

“I had such an amazing year in the build up to the pageant. It’s not just about the actual day, it’s about representing your local area and getting involved. I wanted to do something valuable, and my platform allowed me to do this.”

Regardless of our cynicism, the face of pageantry has evolved. Greeted with her elegant posture and glamorous hair and makeup, it was initially difficult to look past the stigma, but as we spoke, I felt her confidence and her genuine desire to advance herself exude through her smile.

“I never entered with the expectation of getting a crown. I wanted to make new friends and experiences, and that’s what I did.”

For these girls, winning is now simply a bonus.

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Danielle pictured on the far left after Misha Grimes is announced as World Teen Supermodel UK – Paul Carroll – Monsignor Photographic

 

 

 

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Interviewing Big Names: How to avoid looking the amateur you really are.

For those like me that found the school’s English Curriculum too constraining, and instead sought the buzz of joining the world of the free press, what better way to boost yourself to the level of the ‘somebodies’ than to interview the ‘somebodies’ themselves.

Visualise the spectacle that was the look on a 15-year-old’s face when confronted with the news that Jim Broadbent not only read your email, but has agreed to meet you for an interview.

The initial minutes of excitement were great, but then the reality kicked in that…
this.
was.
happening!

It’s pretty clear that mentally, I was not prepared, so here’s “how to interview big names and avoid looking the amateur you really are”.

Jim Broadbent
Flashback to 2013 – Interviewing Jim Broadbent with James Mayer.

 


1 – “What did you say your last name was again?”

When confronted with a schoolchild and a notebook, they’re probably not expecting much, but asking questions that could instantly be found through a quick google search will say a lot to the interviewee about your commitment to your work, no matter how old you are.

Prove you’ve done your research and use it to make the most of your time with them.


2 – Draft out themes to explore, rather than specific questions.

Reading off your questions like a script will only damage the fluidity and spontaneity of the conversational tone you’re so desperately trying to create.

I found this also worked to ease the nervous shakes in my voice as it provided me with more control of the conversation’s direction and broadened the explorable topics.


3 – An awkward silence probably isn’t as awkward as you think. BREATHE!

Realistically, if you were dive straight into your next question before your guest has even managed to spit out their last syllable, you’re implying that you’ve already got the information you need and that they’re wasting their time by expanding their answers.

It also suggests that you haven’t listened to a word they’ve said for the last two minutes, distracted in preparing your next question. Silence suggests reflection. Don’t attack them.


4 – Shorthand isn’t your first language, don’t fool yourself.

Misquoting a controversial opinion can be harmful to the reputations of you both. Ask for their permission to record the interview. It shows you came prepared and allows for greater accuracy when dropping in quotes later on.
This also saves the awkwardness of writing down their answers word for word and leaving them hanging. Tried and tested. Nope. 0/10 Would not recommend.


5 – Ultimately, give yourself a break. You have to start somewhere.

Even if you feel you’re coming across as un-professional by asking for that autograph, your capacity to prepare and successfully conduct an interview will present an inner confidence that is undeniably respectable.

You’re a journalist the moment you begin your research. Embrace that. Mistakes aren’t always permanent, but negative experiences are always a valuable source of reflection and growth.


– Rebecca.

Shout out to James and Mrs Hobson