Miss Teen Atlantic - Sasha Norris - Queen Interview

Continuing our celebration of the Atlantic queens we have the fabulous Sasha Norris, Miss Teen Atlantic 2021/22.

How many times did you compete for your title?

This was my first time I competed for the title in my first ever pageant! I was so over the moon to win the title of Miss Teen Atlantic 2021, and cannot wait to see what the future holds for my reigning year!

What does your system stand for and why is this important to you?

Miss Atlantic United Kingdom is more than just a pageant. It is a team of independent, ambitious women, focused on highlighting the beauty in everyone and celebrating their individuality. It is an opportunity for growth, where each girl is given a guided hand to allow us to flourish as young women, who are ready to take the world by storm! It is their aim to inspire, empower and encourage women to thrive in their work, and make waves in the world. I entered Atlantic, because it was so important to me that the system I entered had similar values to mine, and as a young woman myself with big aspirations and dreams, Atlantic has helped me unlock my limitless potential to make changes for the better.

Can you tell me a bit about your chosen platform?

My chosen platform is advocating for improved children's wellbeing and education- a key topic in society I believe needs to be highlighted more. I chose this as my platform, as it gave me the opportunity to impact and benefit directly on other people's lives. I completed over 70 appearances in the lead up to the finals to help support and create change for my chosen cause, and examples of these include- sending care packages to children in Uganda and donating over 185 Easter Eggs to Bristol Hospital for their Skylight Cancer Ward, and Gloucester Children's Hospital.

As well as, fundraising for the Little Princess Trust through a haircut. I was so happy I got actively involved in my community and the wider world as a finalist, and used my sash to its fullest potential. One of my appearances that specially touched my heart was sending care packages to 25 children in an orphanage in Uganda. It truly disheartens me to see how disadvantaged they are. It is heartbreaking. It is the small things that go amiss with us, that they would do anything for. It is so important to reflect upon this, and continue to support others when we can. The care packages included- personal hygiene items (toothbrushes, flannels, soap etc) and educational items, for example- pencils, paper and colouring books. I hope this helped them with their learning, especially where they do not have access to an education. When they received their packages, they were so happy! It brought tears to my eyes. It is incredible how something we take advantage of and don't even realise the importance of in our lives, they were so happy to receive. It truly is the little things in life.It is my ambition to continue to support these children (all aged between 4 and 12) through my journey as Miss Teen Atlantic 2021!

What do Beauty Pageants mean to you and how would you define them?

Beauty pageants to me are an opportunity for women and young girls to create the change they want to see in the world! Pageants are filled with determined, inspirational women, who are actively making a positive impact on the world. It is a sisterhood between like minded people, with one similar end goal- a kinder world. It is more than about your outside appearance, but instead about who you are as a person, and how you treat others. It is truly inspirational! Pageants give girls and young women a pedestal to support causes close to their heart, and give them the confidence to shine a light on what truly matters to them. The girls I have met competing for my crown are truly empowering and their ambition to help others is phenomenal.

When did you enter your first beauty pageant and why?

I decided to enter Miss Atlantic United Kingdom, because I felt as though I wanted a challenge. I have never competed in a pageant before, and this encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, and try new things. Competing opened up a new world for me, and allowed me to grow as a person. It taught me new things about who I am, and skills I will carry throughout my life.

Competing motivated me and showed me what I am truly capable of. We all have the potential to do big things, we just have to have the correct mindset and be willing to work hard at it. Just like my director, Romy Simpkins, always says you can do anything you set your mind to, as long as you are willing to put in the hard work. Miss Atlantic United Kingdom was my first ever pageant I have competed in- I have definitely caught the pageant bug. My experiences competing as a finalist have shaped me into the person I am, and has given me the courage to show what women are capable of! Pageants are a great example of women supporting women!

What is something important you would tell a newcomer to Beauty Pageants?

One piece of advice I would give to a pageant newcomer, is that by getting out of your comfort zone will lead to personal growth. Pageants are an opportunity to grow as a person, and reflect on your journey. There is so much to be learnt from pageants, and if you enter with the right mindset, the opportunities are endless. You never grow in your comfort zone- you have to take big risks to earn the rewards!

What is the most important thing you have done or will be doing with your current title?

Winning the crown and title of Miss Teen Atlantic has given me the light to shine on my platform, not only nationally, but worldwide. I supported numerous charities with my finalist title of Miss Teen Forest of Dean Atlantic 2020, and will continue to support them throughout my journey as queen- to show my appreciation for all the hard work they do. Charities I supported throughout, include- Pancreatic Cancer UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, The Little Princess Trust and more! A clear passion of mine is supporting people and children affected by cancer, which is reflected in my appearances I completed. In 2019, I lost my nan to bile duct cancer. She was like a second mum to me, and so it is really important to me that I support other people affected by this terrible disease. Unfortunately, cancer kills more than 166,000 people per year, and more than four children a week! I cannot begin to describe the heartbreak that must cause. This is why this topic holds such a special place in my heart- we need to create change now, so nobody has to lose a life or go through the pain of losing a loved one again. One of my appearances I completed was a sponsored run for Pancreatic Cancer UK- where I raised £215 for this amazing charity. The work they do is life changing! It is my ambition to continue my work to help other people affected.

Do you think it is important for a queen to use her title to support her system and take part in community and charity work?

I believe that as a queen of any system, you are a role model for other women and girls, and should embody the qualities of a queen's attitude. A queen should be passionate and excited to take on the role, and the responsibilities that come along with it. Pageants give women and girls a strong sense of purpose, and amplify your voice to shine a light on causes that are important to you. Especially throughout lockdown, when charities have suffered due to limited donations, I believe it is important to give back wherever you can. If we all do our part to work towards a better tomorrow, little changes will make a big difference. It is all about being a team.

What qualities do you think a competitor needs to win a crown?

Everyone is different and we all have our strengths and weaknesses. But, that is the beauty of it. Everyone has something unique to bring to the title. It is so important to be yourself, and show off the real you. The best queens are the ones that are authentic, true to themself and not afraid to show it. Pageants are a journey, and you might not be successful your first time competing, but the main thing is to enjoy it, and if you are true to yourself, when you are ready, you will take the crown.

Do you think a queen is a role model and has responsibilities connected with that?

A queen is a role model for girls and women of all ages. It is their responsibility to represent their system to their highest potential, and fix other girls crowns as they go. It is their duty to show off their crown and sash when taking part in charity work and events, to inspire others to reach for the crown! We all queens inside- the crown is just a bonus!

How would you explain Beauty Pageants to someone who has never experienced one?

A pageant is a learning experience, full of opportunities to grow and reflect on your journey. It is not just about the crown, but about enjoying the experience, and having fun! You will meet so many other inspirational, empowered pageant sisters, who will become some of your best friends for life! We may be a small community, but we are mighty, and one big family! A lot of hard work and dedication goes on behind the scenes in pageants. It is an incredible experience, that I encourage all to try! You will definitely catch the pageant bug!

What's been your greatest learning experience from pageantry?

My greatest learning experience from pageantry, has been to believe in yourself! We all have moments of doubt, where we feel like we aren’t enough! But it is important to pull through and acknowledge our own strength to overcome these moments. We are inspirational, empowered, incredible women, and it is time we realise that, and show it to the world! What doesn’t kill you, definitely makes you stronger!

What was running through your head when your name was announced as the winner?

I could not believe I had just won! My family and I were all watching the finals together. When my name was called, we all jumped up and screamed! I was so happy- it hasn’t even sunk in yet! I could not stop crying! I cannot wait to see what my year as queen holds and what I will do as Miss Teen Atlantic 2021! I have lots of plans already to help make an impact on other people’s lives and better causes close to my heart. I feel so blessed to have won this title- it is a truly remarkable honour! Thank you Romy and the judges for this incredible experience.

Who is your Beauty Pageant inspiration?

My pageant inspiration is my incredible director- Romy Simpkins. She recently won Miss Intercontinental UK, and is going to compete internationally! I wish her all the best in this, and will be supporting her fully throughout her journey! I would love to go internationally one day like her! She is an amazing woman, with a true dedication to helping others, and making a difference in other people’s lives! Romy is a massive role model for me- from supporting causes like Mind and Women’s Aid, to creating her own Pageant, Miss Atlantic United Kingdom. I wish Romy all the best in everything she does with her title- from one queen to another!

Can you tell us more about your sister queens?

I am blessed to be spending my reigning year with four other inspirational sister queens, who have shown true dedication and commitment as finalists, and I am excited to see what they do as queens! We are one big pageant family, who support each other in all of our appearances and charity work- they are true queens inside and out! I cannot wait to meet them- we already have plans to attend events and appearances together! It is going to be amazing.

To find out more and follow Sasha’s journey you can check out her socials:

Instagram - @sashalou.ise

Facebook - Sasha Norris