The newly crowned Miss Ireland, Lauren McDonagh, said she hopes she can put her home town “on the map” following her win.
The 18-years-oldBuncrana beauty has experienced a whirlwind week, travelling to and from Dublin for public appearances, photoshoots and television appearances, while she is also preparing for a month-long trip to China for the Miss World 2017 final.
Lauren was crowned Miss Ireland at the final of the competition in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin last Friday.
She was initially crowned Miss Donegal at the regional final in the Cavern in Letterkenny on June 9.
The former Crana College student is currently working at Syenna Hair and Beauty in Derry.
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ Lauren said although the main event was on Friday evening, the proceedings kicked off on Thursday, with a packed timetable for all the finalists.
“It all started last Thursday. All the finalists met up at 10.00 am and had our Press photos taken.
“We then got ready and had a sports day, it was the best of craic, all the girls competing against each other.
“We had our interviews that night. We sat down with the judges in small groups on Thursday night.
“We were up from 6.00 am on Friday, and it was all go from there.
“We were rehearsing all day and we went and got our hair and make up done and then it was show time! It was a long day,” said Lauren.
She had support on the night from her parents Tom and Derry native, Ann; her boyfriend Glenn and cousin Leona. Brothers Jason and Ciaran were unable to attend the final due to other commitments.
Lauren noted the ”lovely personal touch” from her mother Ann, who handed her a photograph of her late brother, Darren, straight after her win.
Although her face was on all the front pages across the country by Sunday morning, that didn’t stop Lauren from keeping her work commitments, as he attended the An Grianan Hotel annual Wedding Fair on Sunday afternoon.
“I was trying to keep things as normal as I could for as long as I could.
“I work along with ‘Perfect Bliss’ at Wedding Fairs, and found out I was working at it some time ago, so I decided I would still go.
“I have been up and down from Dublin, doing TV, radio, newspaper interviews and Press calls, you name it I’ve been doing it the past week.
“It’s all been crazy but it’s all part of the experience, it’s great,” claimed Lauren.
The Buncrana teenager said that through the competition, she has made some “amazing friends.”
“All the girls were so nice. Even today we were visiting LauraLynn Ireland’s Children’s Hospice, I met up with a few of the girls who were in the competition.
“It’s great to know that they’re all so supprotive too, they’re all backing me for Miss World.
“They’re all just so nice, and I can honestly say I met some amazing friends during this experience.”
It is now full steam ahead for the 67th Miss World pageant, which will be held on November 18 at the Crown of Beauty Theatre, Sanya, China.
Stephanie Del Valle of Puerto Rico will crown her successor at the end of the event.
Lauren is set to jet off to China in three weeks for the build up to the Miss World final.
“There’s a lot of things to do in the lead up. I’m going to be in Singapore, where all the girls will meet up.
“I’ll be visiting Hong Kong, Singpore and Sanya when I’m there.
“I’ll be travelling around China, doing bits and pieces everywhere. There’s a lot going on over there too.
The Buncrana community came out in force last Saturday night for a massive homecoming event for Lauren, organised by her brother Jason and his girlfriend Aisling.
“They organised it alongside the Buncrana community, including Nicholas Crossan, Adrian McMyler, Mark McLaughlin. The town came together and threw a homecoming party for me.
“We went into the Plaza and I gave a speech and we got some photos taken. Then I went to a few of the local bars to celebrate and make Buncrana part of my win as well,” said Lauren.
Lauren has also worked alongside local businesswoman Nicola McLaughlin, who owns the Sequin Cinderella Boutique in the town. Nicola is currently on holidays, but Lauren said she has been “so supportive” throughout the campaign.
“She was actually raging she was in Florida, she said to me she wished she could be there. Nicola is a great girl, she has been so supportive the whole way through. I would work for her every now and again, she has been so supportive.”
Lauren added that it’s “about time” that Buncrana, and the wider Inishowen area was put on the map.
“With Inishowen and especially Buncrana, there’s not much that comes our way.
“Now that something like this has come to Buncrana, it’s just about getting the name of the town back on the map and that’s something that I want to do.”