Mr and Miss Wimbledon contest courts controversy


MissThe talent contest Mr and Miss Wimbledon crowned its new winners in an action-packed night on Tuesday.


By Sam Smith

The talent contest Mr and Miss Wimbledon crowned its new winners in an action-packed night on Tuesday.

Seven contestants performed in front of an audience and a panel of three judges at the Tapanco restaurant, while last year’s winner Alanna Thomas showcased her new music single.

Organiser Mark McGough created the event which was first held in 2007 and was pleased with the night.

“I think it was a fun and memorable night. The feedback from the audience was very positive and there was a lot of audience participation,” he said.

“I think the best performers won on the night. Miss Wimbledon really got the crowd cheering and smiling and Mr Wimbledon definitely had the most impressive talent.”

Performances were judged on talent, charisma and stage presence.

Martial-arts expert Tony Lloyd, 52, chief instructor at local martial arts club Fighting Fit, scooped Mr Wimbledon after impressing the judges with his display of martial arts.

Waitress Brayoni Cerveaux, 22, picked up Miss Wimbledon for her lively dance routine combining different genres of dance. 

They win the prize of fronting the Mr and Miss Wimbledon advertising campaign promoting their talents, a two-day model boot camp and a modelling contract.

Actress Ayme Leigh Brown, 26, picked up the people’s choice for her monologue.

Judge Carly Stratton, winner of reality TV show Shipwrecked in 2008, said: “I really enjoyed all the acts. I was looking for confidence most of all rather than them taking it too seriously.

“It is important that they enjoy what they do.”

The contest was not without controversy however, after coming under fire from human rights group Object for being sexist and dependant on beauty, something that Ms Stratton rejected.

“I think that is rubbish. None of the acts were based on beauty. That is why they [the competitors] wanted to take part in the competition.

“Not once have the judges been asked to look at what they look like. The protestors just want to stereotype the people who take part,” she said.

Object is a human rights organisation fighting for equality and safety for women and girls.

“The prize is a modelling contract. The posters that were plastered all over Wimbledon showed no mention of Mr Wimbledon and were adorned with a photo of the young, thin, blonde archetypal beauty queen,” said Object member Mary Ensell.

“The male contestants are called ‘Mr’ indicating masculinity while the female are ‘Miss’ which not only infantilises them, but indicates they are available and defines them by their marital status – their relationships with men,” she said.

However, Mr McGough was adamant that this was not the case.

“The main thing is just doing a fun night. We want to distance ourselves from beauty contests. We’re more about the talent and doing something fun in Wimbledon,” he said.

“The feminists cling on to the fact we’re using ‘Miss’. If you ask an ordinary girl on the street if you put ‘Miss’ in front of your name is that sexist? No it’s not.

“There is no requirement for entrants apart from they have good talent and that they are over 18 years. The winner is the one who is the most popular on the night and that the people like the most.”

In response, Miss Ensell said: “We are very glad that the contest is now open to everyone, but are confused as to why the finalists all looked like models and the prizes were a modelling boot camp and a modelling contract.

“We are not just campaigning against one beauty pageant or one model contest, we are fighting a worldwide misrepresentation of women by the media and that is why we feel improvements could still have been made.”

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