The first Asian winner of the Miss Lancashire title is hoping her success inspires others from an ethnic background to follow in her footsteps.
Student Aysha Khan admitted she was “honoured” to pick up the crown in Preston and hopes her success helps break down the stigma pageants might have in the county’s Asian community.
“I was one of three Asian girls in the final line-up,” she told the Post. “And to win it was just so surreal.
“One of the things I wanted to do when I entered was to be able to inspire more girls to take part in the competition.
“Coming from an Asian background I’m aware of the stigma and perceptions people have about competitions like this.
"But I want to reassure girls that 90 per cent of it is charity work and only about 10 per cent is a beauty thing.
“Even before the final I’ve had a really good response from girls asking me to recommend if they should take part. I’ve seen people’s perceptions change.”
Aysha, who lives in Blackburn, was crowned Miss Lancashire from a final line-up of 36 in the final at Preston’s Playhouse Theatre.
Holly Moore from Preston was first runner-up and Charlotte Lily, also from Preston, was voted second runner-up.
Aysha now goes forward to the semi-finals of Miss England in June and could eventually compete in Miss World.
“I’m still in shock,” she said. “When my name was read out my mouth just dropped. I couldn’t believe it. This whole journey has been amazing.”