A Northamptonshire woman, who was told that she needed to “lose more weight,” “get some plastic surgery work done” and remove her freckles could become the next Miss England.
Eurasian beauty contestant Leena Dewis, of Long Buckby, splits her time between Northampton and Thailand but was told while competing in a Thai pageant that she would never win because she “looked too foreign.”
but Miss Dewis has recently been shortlisted as a semi-finalist in the Miss England heats and she hopes to go on to compete at Miss World in 2017.
Miss Dewis said: “It all started in April 2016, at the time I was in Phuket, Thailand. I saw an advert on Facebook that there was an audition down the road from where I live for a beauty pageant and I thought, ‘why not’.
“I turned up at the audition with minimal makeup as I thought it was all about natural beauty and being a nice person, but little did I know I was so wrong, beauty pageants in Thailand was all about full on make-up, big hair, and you had to have the walk of a model. I did not have any of that and felt like I did not belong there at all.”
The night before the stage day, Miss Dewis called her mother crying and wanting to give up.
“I felt like all the effort was taking me nowhere,” she said.
“However, I didn’t give up, I kept the smile on my face, kept my positive attitude and kept my head up. One of the judges, in particular, told me that he loved my attitude and how hard I was trying, so they gave me a crown.”
Miss Dewis, who owns her own hotel business in Thailand, was ranked third place and was told to audition for a more prestigious competition in the country.
The hotel owner was successful getting through to the final 30 contestants but claims she received “so much hate” from an online photo.
She told the Chronicle & Echo that a photo from the audition of the remaining girls was released on Facebook and she was called nasty names.
She said: “People commented extremely mean things, things that you would never say to another person in public. “How did she come through,” “omg she’s so ugly,” “did the judges not have eyes,” and so on.
“This was the point that I just wanted to go to the airport and go back home to Phuket. I was heart broken. Why where all those strangers giving me so much hate? All I know is I had the amazing support of my mother, sister, the few friends I had and a few strangers. Honestly, that was all I needed. If you can make one person believe in you, then why can’t you believe in yourself? I knew I had so much to offer.”
“People didn’t like my skin because I had freckles, people didn’t like my hair, my face, I felt ugly. It got to the point I looked in the mirror and started to find it hard to see the beauty in me. But the one thing I knew for sure is I had talent.”
Miss Dewis admits that although she was praised for her musical talents in other rounds of the competition she was told to improve her looks.
She said: “However I was told that I looked too foreign, and I had to go and remove my freckles, get some plastics surgery work done, lose more weight in order for me to have a chance of winning.”
Miss Dewis will now have a chance to represent Miss World in 2017 if she is given the green-light in the Miss England semi-finals public vote.
She told the Chron that she wants to win Miss World so that her voice can be heard and can be a role model to others, especially young girls.