Could Miss Derry be the next Miss Ireland?

Miss Derry, Katie McAuley who will represent her home town this weekend at the finals of the Miss Ireland Competition. Makeup/Styling/Creative Direction-Jenny Taggart and Photography by Karen McCrea. (2504lm91)
Miss Derry, Katie McAuley who will represent her home town this weekend at the finals of the Miss Ireland Competition. Makeup/Styling/Creative Direction-Jenny Taggart and Photography by Karen McCrea. (2504lm91)
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This is the unassuming Waterside girl who will represent Derry at the Miss Ireland contest this weekend.

Industry insiders have tipped Katie McAuley for big things but the student nurse is refusing to get ruffled by any talk of her landing the crown: “I’ve just been pampered since I won the Miss Derry title last month,” smiled the 21 year old model from Limavady Road. “It has already been a brilliant experience and that is the attitude I will go to the Miss Ireland contest with.

“It is just going to be a fun filled weekend away with all the girls and if I win, I win, if not it will have been an amazing experience.”

Having won the Derry title at The Classic Wine Bar, Limavady last month it has been full steam ahead for Katie as she prepares for this Saturday’s event in the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin.

This week there have been fittings, photoshoots and last minute beauty treatments such as teeth whitening. Katie will meet the other contestants on Friday at a meet and greet barbeque. On Saturday the 35 contestants will participate in a fashion show, eveningwear and swimwear rounds before Miss Ireland 2012 is crowned late on Saturday. “These are all new experiences but I’m just happy to go with the flow. There has been a lot more demands on me since I won the Miss Derry title but it has been great and to be expected I suppose. I am really enjoying it all. While it has been a whirlwind, luckily I’m on a one month break from my studies as I await my next placement.” Nursing, says Katie, “is the only thing I’ve wanted to do as long as I wanted to model”.

The Miss Ireland title has been won by a Miss Derry only three times since 1947 when the competition started. Should she be crowned Miss Ireland, Katie would defer her studies in order to dedicate herself to the demands of the post.

“I’ve only a few months left at Queens University but it would be worth it in the long term. While I love nursing it would be too big an opportunity to waste.”

Katie has been modelling since aged 14 and recently signed to the Style Academy Modelling agency. “I would love to represent Ireland at the Miss World pageant, winning this weekend would take me one big step closer.

“I am so excited that I am one step away from fulfilling a dream but as I said if it doesn’t happen, it will still have been worthwhile. I know people always think beauty competitions are a competitive environment but the girls are all really nice, just lovely. We have had such a laugh, the weekend will be great no matter what happens.”

Former Foyle and Londonderry College pupil, Katie is one of four children. Parents, Adrian and Nolene will be joined by sisters Jodie, 22 and Poppy, 17, brother Cian, 19 and boyfriend Andrew Semple as they all travel to Dublin in support of Miss Derry this weekend. “Their support has been wonderful, I’m really lucky to have them and their help. It would be great to win for them too.”

So how would she react to an announcement of ‘Miss Ireland - Katie McAuley’ on Saturday evening?

“Oh stop!” is her modest response.

Find out how Katie fared at the Miss Ireland competition in Tuesday’s Derry Journal.