A graduate is hoping to burst through the stratosphere to be crowned Miss Universe – five years after telling a talent scout that pageants weren’t her thing.
Ashley Powell, aged 21, said she is ‘thrilled’ to be in the running to represent Great Britain at the Miss Universe pageant.
The sports, health and nutrition graduate must first beat the other 40 contestants in Wales in July to make the international competition.
Ashley, of Killamarsh, said: “I am thrilled to have been chosen as a finalist for the prestigious Miss Universe Great Britain this year.
“This pageant really enforces the growth of self-confidence and supports womanly empowerment, which is an aspect I am proud to be associated with.”
But her path to the universe was not always written in the stars for Ashley.
She said: “When I was 16, a woman came up to me in Crystal Peaks shopping centre and asked if I would like to take part in Miss South Yorkshire.
“I initially said ‘no, it’s not my thing’ as I wasn’t really too sure about pageants. But my mum, who was with me, took her email address and encouraged me to do it.”
While her first pageant was not victorious, Ashley decided to try again after finishing her A-levels at 18 – and took the crown.
Later that year she went on to win Miss Great Britain and a host of other pageants.
Ashley said: “Competing in pageants has done so much for me. They really push women to be confident, stand tall, speak their mind and be proud their femininity.
“As Miss Universe is one of the biggest most admired pageants in the world, I believe it’s going to be a testing adventure as well as an exciting life experience which I’ll never forget.”
In the run up she will face a series of challenges and fundraising for Strongbones – a charity which helps children from all over the UK with diseases of the bone.
Ashley also plans to document her experience.
To find out more visit www.missapowell.wordpress.com and www.missuniversegb.co.uk.