Reigning Miss England Lizzy Grant has hit back at claims that beauty pageants are sexist and racist.
The mixed race student from Preston, who competed in the Miss World finals in December, accused a newspaper journalist of being “dated” for saying on TV that contestants are “predominantly the same size and predominantly white.”
Harriet Minter of the Guardian told viewers on Good Morning Britain yesterday she was enraged that “in 2017 we are still perpetuating a standard of beauty which is really from the 1950s and 1960s.
“Why are there not pageants to celebrate the intelligence or the careers of women? We don’t have any diversity with beauty pageants. We don’t have any that celebrate the fact that women are well-rounded people.”
Lizzy, who won both Miss Preston and Miss England titles in 2016, reacted angrily, accusing the journalist of being “dated.” She said pageants were “most definitely not sexist or racist.”
“All the contestants are not predominantly white. I’m mixed race - half Jamaican and half English. Did that hinder my chances of winning Miss England? No, because I’m sat here with a national title. And I didn’t have to work any harder than the other girls.”
She challenged the journalist to “research us, talk to us, see what we’re about. I’m sure we’ll set you straight. Your dated view is something which needs to change as it’s holding us back. All you said about beauty competitions is incorrect. We are an empowering organisation, we are a sisterhood. I’m most definitely better off for competing.
“We certainly don’t do it just on looks. The winner of Miss England has to be a well-rounded person.”