‘Shining Light’ pageant trains spotlight on mental health

Emma Brolly, handing over a cheque for �11,623.01 to Pauline McCloskey and John Doran, ME4Mental Support Group, Queen Street, Derry. The monies were raised though a beauty pageant held at the Waterfoot Hotel on 14th September, 2019. Included in photo are Millie Doran, Zoe Stewart and Rebecca Keys.
Emma Brolly, handing over a cheque for �11,623.01 to Pauline McCloskey and John Doran, ME4Mental Support Group, Queen Street, Derry. The monies were raised though a beauty pageant held at the Waterfoot Hotel on 14th September, 2019. Included in photo are Millie Doran, Zoe Stewart and Rebecca Keys.

An inspirational pageant, which is ‘all inclusive’ and raises awareness of mental health has not only changed lives, but also raised a phenomenal £11,500 for Me4Mental.

The ‘Shining Light’ pageant is a unique competition with its roots in Derry and its grand final was held last month in the Waterfoot Hotel.

The event is not like other pageants, in that it is open to women of all ages and sizes, with no height, weight, health or age restrictions. It focuses on boosting confidence and self esteem, empowerment, friendship and fundraising.

‘Shining Light 2020’ saw over 50 women take part and while all the ladies were winners, the ‘Shining Light’ queens were named in eight categories.

They were: Little Miss Shining Light 2019 - Jasmine Parker; Junior Miss Shining Light 2019 - Taylor Nicholl; Miss Teen Shining Light 2019 - Rebecca Keys; Miss Shining Light 2019 - Zoe Stewart; Mrs Shining Light 2019 - Emma Magill; Exquisite Shining Light 2019 - Kerry Clarence; Charity Shining Light Queen 2019 - Patricia Mullin and Mental Health Shining Light Queen 2019 - Millie Doran.

The event is organised by Emma Brolly, who is ‘Miss Ireland Curve’ and Jennifer Taylor, ‘Mrs Ireland.’

Last year, it ran as an online pageant, but the pair decided to go ‘bigger and better’ for 2019 and it was a huge success.

Emma told the ‘Journal’ how, as both she and Jennifer know what it is like to live with mental health issues, they wanted to focus on promoting positive mental health and raising awareness. They also wanted to raise funds and chose Me4Mental due to the fantastic work it is doing across the city.

‘Shining Light 2019’ was not just about the gala event itself but began months before, with the ladies from six years old to 60 taking part in training and team building days to build confidence and friendships. They were shown how to walk the catwalk and learned about empowerment and believing in yourself. Judging rounds weren’t done traditionally, with the ladies facing a panel, but were ‘taken out’ and videos were filmed.

Emma, who is hoping to pursue a career in mental health, said they had some fantastic sponsorship from local businesses.

The ladies named as queens have a bright year ahead and have already attended a number of events.

‘Shining Light 2020’ has already been launched and has attracted a huge number of entrants, including many of those who took part this year and enjoyed it so much, they wanted to return. The charity chosen for 2020 is Foyle Search and Rescue, due to the phenomenal work they do. Rounds include a two minute video showcasing: ‘What Mental Health Means to Me’ and a ‘Create It Yourself’ fun fashion round.

Emma said they were ‘over the moon’ to raise so much money for Me4Mental, who rely on fundraising.

She described the pageant crowning as an ‘emotional night’ and said that firm friendships were made. Applications for six categories (with two more on the night) are now open.

For categories, information and application information see ‘Miss Shining Light’ 2020 on Facebook and missshininglight.wixsite.com