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Hornchurch dancer wins Essex-wide beauty contest

PUBLISHED: 11:53 27 February 2015 | UPDATED: 12:05 27 February 2015

Victoria Winterford (front) saw off seven others to win

Victoria Winterford (front) saw off seven others to win

Archant

A Hornchurch dancer has overcome her confidence issues to be crowned Miss Universe Essex in her first pageant appearance.

Victoria Winterford strutting her stuffVictoria Winterford strutting her stuff

Victoria Winterford saw off seven other hopefuls at Rayleigh Golf Club Resort on Sunday, and will now progress on to the Miss Universe Great Britain finals in June.

But it’s not been as straightforward as it sounds for the 22-year-old, who admits “confidence issues” prevented her from pursuing modelling before she applied for the competition last July.

“It’s not something I had ever found myself interested it,” she said. “I always had confidence issues. But I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone and push myself.”

Lots of preparation went into Sunday’s event for the finalists, who learned how to cat walk and give interviews with help from the reigning Miss Universe Great Britain Grace Levey.

“It was a massive honour to win,” said Victoria. “Just getting through to the semis gave me a huge confidence boost.”

Towie’s Abigail Clarke and TV star and model Junaid Ahmed were among the guest judges, who awarded Victoria the honour ahead of Ria Carroll, of Billericay and Jessica Hursit of Cressing.

Victoria had been focusing on her street commercial dancing beforehand and worked as a PA, but she has now been sponsored by Herbalife members Michael and Sarah Baah and will spend the year helping others in the community to lead a healthier active lifestyle.

She will also raise as much money for local charities, including Romford’s Strongbones, which cares for children with brittle bones and other serious bone illnesses.

And she has her sights set on winning the overall prize next year – a £20,000 contract and a year in New York.

To date Great Britain has never produced a winner of Donald Trump’s Miss Universe, but Victoria could be set to change that.

“I’m feeling confident,” she said. “There’s been quite a lot of good responses to the finals and a lot of things said about me. I want to travel and raise awareness.”


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