A Wimbledon writer hopes to fulfil her dream of becoming Miss London when she competes in the final at the Hippodrome Casino on Friday.
Larissa Hirst, 25, of Princes Road, has made it to the final 18 in the contest to be crowned Miss London or Miss Hippodrome at the event in Leicester Square on Friday May 6.
The event consists of an introduction from each of the hopefuls, a walk down the catwalk, an evening gown round, and finishes with interviews.
“I’m nervous and excited about next it, but mainly I’m just looking forward to it,” said Larissa.
“I have high hopes but not too ridiculous hopes.”
RADIANT: Larissa wowing in red
If she wins either of the titles, Larissa will be able to compete for the title of Miss England — with prize money of £100,000.
While previously representing Hampshire, Larissa managed to rank in the top 15, out of 20,000 contestants, for the Miss England crown.
Larissa was motivated to compete in beauty pageants by her boyfriend of five years, Ian.
Ian had been suffering with testicular cancer and was treated in the same hospital ward that Larissa’s grandfather passed away in.
The catwalk queen was spurred on to raise more than £3,000 for the Hamwic ward at Southampton General Hospital and the Miss World official charity ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ by running a half-marathon.
Her latest sponsored effort was a 10k run for St Christopher’s Hospice in south London, which she completed with friends.
Larissa has also slept on the streets to fundraise and raise awareness of homelessness.
The pageant encourages aspirants to take part in charity work — with Miss England contestants raising more than £250,000 for various charities to date.
HAT-ULOUS: A blonde Larissa rocking a hat
Larissa wants to challenge the negative perceptions often associated with the pageant world.
She said: “I think a lot of people judge it without actually knowing about it. Nothing is like the 70s any more.
“Ironically, I think it is definitely good for female empowerment. It’s good to have to stand up and announce who you really are.
“It’s definitely helped me with my confidence, and I think it would help a lot of young girls.”
The winner of this Friday’s event will receive a modelling campaign with BMA Models, a modelling campaign for Merola London and a model portfolio with Alan Strutt.
Larissa said: “It would be a real honour to win. It’s something I take very seriously and I would love to bring the title of Miss England home to the capital.”
Images courtesy of Larissa Hirst, with thanks
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