Tiaras, glamorous gowns and a whole truckload of hairspray – it can mean only one thing. The hottest tournament in town returned – and now the new queen of the Black Country has taken her crown.
Watched over by the current Miss England, 22-year-old Shelley-Marie Sumner from Walsall was named Miss Black Country 2014 during an evening of glitz and glamour on Saturday.
The part-time dance teacher from Morris Avenue in Bentley was handed her sash and tiara after beating 20 others to the title at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton. After being crowned she said: “I’m shocked. I heard third and then second called out, and I thought ‘oh well, I might as well have stayed in my onesie’. I began to walk off a bit and thought I couldn’t wait to get into bed. But then I heard my name called – I’m shocked but really pleased.” Shelley-Marie, who was entering her first competition, who takes the title from previous holder Nikki Sahota from West Bromwich, now gets a direct entry into the Miss England competition being held in Torquay in June. If she wins that, she will be entered into the Miss World competition later this year.
Current Miss England Kirsty Heslewood was on the judging panel on Saturday night, as well as Mr England Jordan Williams, Miss Birmingham Rachael Barker, and head of the Miss England competition Angie Beasley.
Before the competition Miss Heslewood, 24 and from Hertfordshire, said: “We are looking for confidence mainly, eye contact, how they speak and present themselves. We also want to see their personality, how that comes across on stage, and we want to see them smiley and happy and enjoying themselves.”
The 21 contestants, selected from a total of around 200 initial entrants, competed across four rounds on the night, including sportswear, party wear, evening wear, and an ‘eco wear’ round where they were required to create their own outfits using mainly recycled materials.
The night, sponsored by Bassbuds, was also being filmed by Channel 4 for a documentary on beauty competitions and those who enter. Should Shelley-Marie go on to win the Miss England competition, she will be jetting off around the world to exotic locations as an ambassador for the country – last year’s Miss World finals were held in Bali.
She added: “I’m excited, I’m very excited, but also I’m very nervous because I don’t know what to expect now.”