Eglinton university student, Jade Roberts pledges to do her best as an ambassador for Northern Ireland over the next 10 days during a European beauty pageant in Romania.
The 21-year-old University of Ulster fashion design student competes against 32 contestants for the title of Miss European Tourism Beauty 2012.
“Being given these opportunities means the world to me,” she said. “I’m just an ordinary girl from Derry City and I’m getting to go globe trotting, all expenses paid! There is definitely someone looking down on me.”
Jade is no stranger to beauty pageants having competed in several competitions throughout Europe. Winning Miss Northern Ireland Teen Queen title in 2009, however, was her “big break”.
“Luckily, I was never forgotten by the directors and organisers at the pageant, being hailed as an ambassador for young girls. Lina Perrini, director of Teen Queen UK, is like my fairy godmother. She has opened up so many opportunities for me allowing me to travel to places I would never have been able to go to without my modelling.”
Jade says the Romania competition attracts substantial media coverage and involves a hectic schedule.
“It will be a lot of travel but we get to experience all the local food cuisine, take part in press calls and photo-shoots every single day, and take part in nightclub appearances. We also have a lot of very early mornings. At the end of it I’m like a zombie!”
The final is on July 1.
“Everyone assumes it is all pressure and nerve-wracking, but I go there to experience different cultures and meet people and have fun on my journey. I now have the closest friends from England, Canada, Denmark, Australia, Belgium and Bolivia.”
Jade, who is signed to the Alison Clarke’s ACA Modelling Agency, says modelling “is a big part of my life and has made me who I am today”.
“It’s not all about what size you are and how beautiful you are. Your personality is a major part of becoming a beauty queen. I treat people the way I want to be treated. My confidence has blossomed and I’ve been given so much knowledge on the fashion industry. It helps my studies as I am getting to travel and see different styles of dress and can bring this into my studies for an exciting fresh approach to fashion design.”
The brainy beauty, who has 11 GCSEs and three A-Levels, says: “I’m glad I have my degree though, because I think every girl should remember modelling doesn’t last forever. I want to succeed as a designer as well and travel to places, such as New York once I have my degree finished. I was awarded one of the top 12 upcoming designers in 2010 at the Fashion Innovation Awards and love to be behind the scenes as much as I am in front of it!”
She adds: “I’m grabbing every opportunity with open hands and loving every minute of it!”