This week we talked to Kirsty Brown, the current Miss Voluptuous UK 2022 finalist
What is your favourite thing about pageantry so far?
I have found the pageant world to be so welcoming and upbeat. It's so inspiring to see everybody share their passions, support each other and feel confident enough to shout about the things which are important to them. All too often you can feel like you're shouting into a void but in the pageant-sphere there's always somebody listening and keen to learn more about how they can do their bit to make a difference.
Describe your personality in its full glory?
I'm an INFP, a cancer-leo cusp and an aspiring Slytherin. A lot of people know me to be quite a quiet person, but I'm actually just the kind of person who is always listening and waiting for the time when my input is necessary. I'm confident in myself and my beliefs, and I'm not afraid to be 'weird' (I prefer the term quirky!). I'm full of love and patience for everyone and I always do my best to be understanding and hear all sides of the story. Oh, and I'm really quite independent.
What do you see as the important skills you can learn from pageantry?
One thing I'm really working on is getting better at putting myself 'out there' - as an introvert with anxiety it can be an absolute nightmare sometimes! Knowing how important the interview is too is pushing me to work on getting the things in my brain to come out of my mouth - I can write perfectly coherently but I know that if I open my mouth it's sometimes just a jumble of nonsense that spills out!
What qualities do you think a competitor needs to win a crown?
I think that the person who takes home the crown is well rounded, focussed and self-assured. They're also approachable, warm and likable. Beyond that it varies from pageant to pageant depending on that system's values, so for example in Miss Voluptuous I believe in the search for the crown they're also looking for somebody who knows what they stand for and where their passions lie, who is confident enough in themselves to know how to lift up others and who strives not only to be their best self but to bring out the best in the people around them.
How would you explain Beauty Pageants to someone who has never experienced one?
I think the best place to start is to find out what they think they know and then take it from there. People are always super surprised to learn that everyone is super friendly and supportive. People expect women to be tearing each other apart and it's the opposite. It's really important to talk about the hard work that goes on behind the scenes too, especially with regards to volunteering and charity work. When I'm telling people what I'm doing they're always very interested to hear about it because people genuinely have this misconception that you just rock up on the day, shimmy down the stage in a pretty dress, get a crown (or don't) then go home.
What is the most important thing you would do with your dream title?
Winning the title would give me the confidence and the opportunity to shout even louder about my passion for my platform (Support Local) and honestly just spreading that message a little further would be amazing. In terms of specifics...I'm still working on that!
What is the most interesting thing the judges would need to know about you?
Hopefully that I'm the winner they're looking for! All jokes aside, I think they might be interested to know that in 2009 I was awarded a Young Citizen Of The Year award - my dedication to supporting my community is a longstanding thing and not just 'for the Gram'.
What does your system stand for and why is this important to you?
Miss Voluptuous is all about empowerment, which really resonated with me. Who doesn't want to feel empowered? It also has a real focus on the community aspect of pageantry - getting stuck in and making a difference where you can - which is something which really appealed to me and one of the things which drew me into pageantry in the first place.
Do you have a platform?
Yes! My platform is 'support local' and is all about highlighting the importance of supporting our local communities. Supporting locals is about so much more than just popping into the shop down the road, and I'm hoping that I can raise awareness of different ways to support locals and inspire people to go out and learn more about what is available in their local area. Of course I'm also going to be looking at the barriers people face - while practically everybody has the ability to support locals there are a number of genuine reasons that people don't.
Would you like to represent the UK at an international pageant and why?
Representing the UK (or Scotland) on an international stage would be an incredible opportunity and it would be an absolute honour to do so. I've never really excelled in sports or any hobby which would bring me to an international audience and I think that's what makes the opportunity so special - representing your country is not something that everybody gets a chance to do.
Why do you want to enter a Beauty Pageant?
I initially entered a (different) pageant last year because I wanted to do '30 things to celebrate turning 30'...and that was it I'm afraid. I thought that a pageant was something totally different, a million miles outside of my comfort zone and something which would push me to evaluate myself and my life. When that fell apart (thank you Covid-19!) I felt like I'd only just started and decided that I really wanted the full pageant experience from start to finish...and here I am!
Tell us about any community and charity work you have done. Why did you choose the projects or charities you supported?
I haven't done a lot yet but I have lots of plans for the year ahead! One of the biggest things I have done so far was collecting Easter sweets for my local food bank. I have started fundraising for two charities which I believe in as part of my platform as well as the pageant's chosen charity. My charities are Fyvie Guide House, a residential facility which welcomes hundreds of girls and young women each year, and Scottish Men's Shed Association, which creates opportunities to improve mental health in men. I've seen for myself the incredible difference that both of these make to people in my community.
What does it mean to you to be a person of substance?
A person of substance has a whole lot going on inside. They are somebody who has interesting stories to tell and if asked for their opinion then they generally know exactly what they believe in. When I think of a 'person of substance' I think of somebody who is empowered, empowering and inspiring.
What makes a person inspirational to you?
I think that if you find somebody inspirational then it means that they have some kind of quality or characteristic that you aspire to, and for me that's the confidence to always be wholly and unashamedly yourself.
What qualities/characteristics should a Queen have?
While everyone will be different I think that a Queen should generally be confident, caring, reliable and ambitious.
Where is your happy place?
My happy place is probably on the shores of Loch Morlich, overlooked by the mountains, with my family and the armies of insatiable ducks, or curled up on the sofa with a blanket and a photo album.
When did you last lie?
Oh wow, I don't think I've told a 'big' lie in a long time! I'm a terrible liar, so it's useless me even trying. I am one of those people who is prone to saying I'm fine when I don't actually feel so fine though...and I lie to myself every day about how much we're going to achieve today haha!
What book do you recommend most to people?
Normally it's just whatever book I'm reading at the time, but I think the book I've recommended most over the past year or so is probably My Polar Dream by Jade Hameister. It's an autobiography of the youngest person to achieve the polar hat trick, amongst other record breaking achievements, and is just an incredible story. A lot of people might remember the viral photo of a girl posing with a sandwich at the South Pole - that's Jade! Another book which I recommend everybody to read at least once is The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time by Mark Haddon, which steps inside the mind of somebody living with autism.
What's the one thing you want to know before you die?
I want to know that the people I care about know that they are loved, and I want to know the answers to all of the unsolved cases and mysteries which take up space in my brain! I suspect, however, that one of these might be more achievable than the other - I don't suppose we'll ever know exactly what happened to the lighthouse keepers of the Flannan Isles in 1900!
If you would like to connect to Kirsty or follow her journey, then check out her social medias linked below.
If you would like to be interviewed for the Pageant Land blog list www.pageantland.online/getinvolved