When entering the pageant industry there are so many components to think about, hair, make –up, and oh my goodness the dresses! The average beauty queen spends roughly £3000 on the big four alone. I dare not total the amount I’ve spent over the years in pursuit of a title and a tiara which has grown into a $5 billion-a-year industry, according to the Pageant News Bureau. Of course I’m not here to talk about money, (you could see it as one of the perks of this article though) it’s Lauri Knowler for crying out loud! I’m talking about the environmental cost of the choices we make as pageant girls from the minute we click “apply”.
Now those of you who don’t have a clue who I am or what I do, here is a quick introduction… I’m Lauri Knowler. I have been involved in the pageant industry since I was eighteen in 2013. Since then I have competed in a plethora of pageants, from Miss England to Miss Intercontinental (It was known as “Power Pageants when I competed). It wasn’t until I chose to take on Miss Earth, combining my passion of environmental issues and pageantry that I really started to take a deep dive into the true cost of pageantry and since then I’m now recognized as one of the pageant industry’s eco “turn tos”. In my daylight hours I’m a teacher and run a business with my partner called The Eco Educator whereby we turn environmental issues into positive educational tools.
Ready to get stuck in? Well, so am I! I’ll be looking at some of the staples of our pageant lives and shedding light on how we can take the environment into consideration when we make the big decisions in our pageant journeys!
Now, I love a good make – up drawer, or two okay I’ll be honest … four. I drive Tom mad with my trips to Superdrug or Boots because let’s face it, I NEED that new Revolution palette! I knew that animal testing occurred with certain brands but just because you know something happens, doesn’t mean you quite understand the sheer horror film that lays behind those closed laboratory doors, and why should we? We never see it so it’s easy to stay blinkered. I recently watched a short film called “Save Ralph” which gives an insight from the distorted perspective of Ralph, a lab rabbit who says that “testing is for the protection of humans”. It broke my heart. Which is why, more important than ever, we need to pay attention to what we consume. The current Miss Intercontinental UK Romy Simpkins asked me a while ago during an interview, “what brand do you go to and where do you buy it?” Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong with Superdrug. Superdrug’s marketing department needs to be rewarded with noticing the new trend in cruelty free cosmetics. As people are becoming more informed, we are now more conscious with what we consume. Superdrug’s own brand range is completely cruelty free and mostly vegan. Most own brands surprisingly are, and an even better perk, they aren’t expensive either!
Now for the downside, I have conducted some research and there’s not much to do after Google searching with brands continuing to test on animals and also “greenwash” some of their smaller companies. If you’re not familiar with the term “greenwashing “it is a term that is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company's products are more environmentally sound. Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company's products are environmentally friendly
For example, companies involved in greenwashing behavior might make claims that their products are from recycled materials or have energy-saving benefits. Although some of the environmental claims might be partly true, companies engaged in greenwashing typically exaggerate their claims or the benefits in an attempt to mislead consumers. Savage, right?
Here is the list:
Bumble and Bumble
Shocking right? But I always focus on the positive. There is one simple solution to these brands to diminish, and it’s not protesting outside their head office or boycotting their labs. The solution is simply not to buy these products. Without our custom, they have no business. In addition to this, we can buy products that maintain cruelty free status, such as:
Nip + Fab
We all know and love Peter Kay’s comedy “Car Share “and James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” but believe it or not it does have a brilliant environmental impact, especially if you’re travelling for a pageant that is miles away! I’ve done this many times. Let’s think for a moment. When you carpool, you consume less fuel. If four people are all going to the same place and driving their own vehicles, then four times the gas is being used. Put those four people in the same car, and you lessen the consumption by 75%. That level of fossil fuel savings will compound week after week, and by the end of the year, you’ll save hundreds of gallons of fuel.
Cars and trucks that burn fuel send carbon emissions into the air. Urban areas with high populations crammed into a small area, such as Los Angeles, often develop thick layers of smog over the city. Reducing emissions is important to reducing the pollution in the air. Having fewer cars on the road will drastically reduce the amount of toxins being spewed into the atmosphere.
Having fewer cars on the road means the road sustains less wear and tear. Roads can handle a lot of traffic by design, but they have their limits. Constant changes in weather and constant traffic begin to break down roads as potholes and stress cracks develop. Construction crews must come in and repair or replace the roads with more emission-producing heavy equipment. Bumpy roads also force cars to work harder and, in turn, burn more fuel, creating even more toxic exhaust fumes and expelling them into the air.
Not to mention, you can sing along to some banging tunes on the way there! My song is Saturday Night!
I saved the best topic for last! If you skipped the other sections and went straight here then shame on you and read again! No I’m kidding, keep reading! Rental clothing has become a growing trend in recent times, Rent the Runway, Le Tote and Gwynnie Bee, trying out the latest trends without destroying the planet is a big part of the allure. The culture of fast fashion has been around since I was about thirteen, this was when we first saw Stacey Dooley on our screens in the documentary “Blood, Sweat and T –Shirts”. This documentary lifted the rose tinted veil on the fashion industry’s best kept £3 top and like many, I felt the bargain Brit in me jump for joy until I watched it on BBC Three. We as a culture have become accustomed to the kind of wear-it-once styles documented on Instagram and then tossed out—without any of the guilt I feel when buying fast fashion, which is notorious for its water pollution, labor abuses and textile waste. Over the summer, Urban Outfitters, Macy’s, Banana Republic, American Eagle, and Bloomingdale’s announced their own rental subscription services, which industry analysts clocked as a bid to appeal to conscious consumers. You can do this with pageant dresses too! Confession, I only own three dresses and my bank account knows it every time. The rest of the time, I rented. I used a dress hire service that wasn’t too far from me location wise. This I highly recommend, dresses that I never have been able to have afforded were mine for the weekend. Yes there is the fear that you may rip it or spill something, but that fear has kept the gown in good nick! I think the most I’ve ever paid was roughly £160 for a £1000 dress. If you’re not sure what to go for, there are two ladies in the industry who know their stuff. Charlotte Brooke is an eco-queen herself and owns her business. As a model she knows the fashion industry like the back of hand so knows what works on stage. There is also the pageant stylist herself, Dani Latimer. A veteran in the pageant industry, Dani gets to know you as a person, not only does she assist with the big WOW of the evening gown round, she clears the floor with her expertise in style and overhauls your pageant wardrobe.
So there it is! Three simple steps to make sure your pageant journey is more eco-friendly, I can’t say much more than that! If you want to know more or simply have any further questions, feel free to drop me a message via my @misslauriellen Instagram. You can also follow me on @the_ecoeducator for everyday tips and tricks towards loving your home, planet earth!
If you want to know more about Lauri and follow her journey then check out her socials linked below: