Meet the Leeds beauty queen who wants to change people's perception of beauty pageants

It's often perceived as beauty over brains, but the current Miss Leeds is breaking the mould after raising thousands of pounds for charity.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 16th December 2018, 3:40 pm
Updated Monday, 17th December 2018, 11:53 am
Miss Leeds GB, Emily Austin, taking part in the Leeds Big Sleep in November 2018.
Miss Leeds GB, Emily Austin, taking part in the Leeds Big Sleep in November 2018.

Emily Austin, 21, won the Miss Leeds title back in July this year and she has since dedicated her time to fundraising for those in need.

Miss Austin, a business student at Leeds Beckett University, has raised over £6,000 for various charities in the past three years.

She has raised money for a number of charities including St James' Hospice and Global's Make Some Noise charity which helps disadvantaged children across the UK.

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Emily Austin winning the Miss Leeds 2018 title.

In November, she took part in the 2018 Leeds Big Sleep at Emerald Headingley Stadium.

She joined other volunteers to sleep out on the terraces in order to raise money for the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, St George's Crypt and St Gemma's Hospice.

Miss Austin, originally from Northallerton, said her pageant work is key to helping her raise so much money.

She said: "A lot of people see us walking up and down in a dress or in the bikini rounds and they dismiss it as silly and not important. However, it involves a lot more than that and it requires a lot of determination.

Emily Austin competing in the Miss GB competition.

"I do a lot more than people realise. Through the pageants I have raised a lot of money for many different types of charities, done over 150 appearances across the country and raised raised awareness. It's all about giving back to the community."

Miss Austin began getting involved with pageants after a girl from her hometown of Northallerton lost her life to cancer.

After that, she wanted to do something to raise money so she entered the Miss North Yorkshire contest and ended up winning.

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The charity for that year's Miss North Yorkshire was Leeds based children cancer charity Candlelighters.

Miss Austin said: "It was nice to see the money I was raising would make a real life difference on a cause close to everyone's hearts. My friends were so proud."

This year, as well as being crowned Miss Leeds, she reached the final 16 of the Miss GB pageant.

Next year she intends to compete again and bring the crown back to Leeds.

She intends to continue her charity work and has recently got involved with Leeds City Council and the mayor to help them with charity events.

She says she would like to focus her charity efforts on children and young people in the local area because she believes they deserve a good education.

Raffles, abseiling and a 5k obstacle course are on the fundraising agenda next year, as well as running her own pageant training courses.

Does she have any advice for young people wanting to get into beauty pageants? "Don't worry what people think," she said.

"I was worried at first about what people would say but now I look back and see how much of a difference I've made.

"Usually, the people that judge are those who are sat doing nothing so just go for it, and don't let fear of other people hold you back."