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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Access All Areas: Lethal Bizzle launches NXT at the Engine Shed

Student nights at clubs are usually the highlights of any student’s week, although ask them the following morning and their responses may not be quite so excitable. However, after we attended the launching of NXT at the Engine Shed, Monday’s had never felt so good, nor Tuesday’s hangovers so worthwhile.

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Whilst there were some home comforts in partying in the on-campus venue, it’s safe to say the Engine Shed was transformed for NXT with three bars, its own dance-floor and a merchandise stand, with purchases funded by ‘NXT Bills’, the events very own currency. It became pretty clear that the bold décor was not a reflection of the cheap ticket prices.

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Whilst there was no dress code of sorts, there was a universal dark edginess to everyone’s attire which really ‘urbanised’ the place, with ‘Dench’ gear sported by many. It’s hard to believe it had been filled with screaming Scouting For Girls fans a matter of days before. The vibe had totally shifted.

Whilst advertised as a blend of all the genres you’d assume your grandparents would be terrified of, like Grime, Hip-Hop and RnB, the playlist had people dancing before the crowd had fully converged, demonstrative of how ready the venue felt before it could even have time to hit capacity.

The fact we found our sober-selves dancing along says a great deal about how contagious the night became. The dancing and the atmosphere it was breeding were infectious. Regardless of our press status, we couldn’t help joining the dancing masses.

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Speaking of press status, regardless of how much time I try to invest into my work, I don’t think I’d have ever expected to be backstage reporting on Lethal Bizzle’s gig and the launch night of Lincoln’s newest urban event. I’d only been at university for two weeks!
Whilst we didn’t get chance to speak to Bizzle himself, having him stand only a metre from us pretty much made up for it.

Fun Fact: Whilst many artists have some pretty odd dressing room demands, Bizzle’s rider seemed to consist of just snacks, alcohol and cute jars of honey. Sweet.

Back to the night itself, the blending of genres made the night feel truly inclusive. The tailoring of the playlist was genius, incorporating sounds that seduced virgins to the grime scene, even before Lethal Bizzle hit the stage.

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Whilst I’m sure everyone there would agree the brilliant ‘hype’ man warming up the crowd deserved a full set of his own too, the highlight of the night goes to Lethal Bizzle’s detonative set of his classics as well as his powerful  covers of more current tracks. Even though we were at the foot of the stage with the barriers separating us from the crowd, the energy he breathed into his fans pulsed throughout the building, with a sea of ‘Dench’ covered clothing matching the rapper’s crew attire.

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NXT will be returning to the Engine Shed on the 14th of November and will continue monthly. Although the guests are yet to be confirmed, it became pretty clear from the fans we spoke to on the night that they’ll definitely be returning. I know I will at least…
– Rebecca.

(& Lew of course..)