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Dagenham's Miss Essex sets sights on the Galaxy

PUBLISHED: 15:00 15 December 2015 | UPDATED: 16:28 15 December 2015

Sarah Rich

Sarah Rich

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Sarah RichSarah Rich

If you want to be a beauty queen, you had best have an opinion.

This is the world that 27-year-old Sarah Rich, who attended St Vincent’s Primary School in Dagenham, chose to enter in August – and one in which she immediately prospered.

After winning the coveted Miss Essex title, she was runner-up in the battle to become Miss Supranational UK in October.

Now the dance teacher, who was married six months ago, is going interstellar with a bid to represent England at the Mrs Galaxy finals in Florida next summer.

Sarah RichSarah Rich

“It really isn’t how people envision a beauty contest,” Sarah said.

“You would think all the girls would be catty and cliquey and extremely competitive.

“But they’re not – well, some of them are, but most of them are so welcoming and nice and helpful.”

Sarah said she was honoured to be chosen from 600 women and girls to be a candidate in February 4’s competition, which is being hosted in Lancashire, despite initial reservations.

“I was very nervous before telling my family because of the stigma attached,” she said.

“But once they saw the charity work we all do, they were completely behind me.

“My husband, Jamie, gives me so much support.”

Sarah hopes to change the view of beauty competitions by focussing on the charity they encourage.

“I have always volunteered – my aunt had MS when I was younger so I raised a lot of money for the MS Society,” Sarah explained.

“But even for the girls who haven’t done it before, I think it’s good that the contest promotes it.”

Sarah also hopes to use her privileged position to challenge modern views of self-image.

“It’s my philosophy that beauty comes from within,” she said.

“A lot of girls these days can be very superficial and be wrapped up in celebrity culture.

“I believe if you surround yourself with nice people, your beauty will shine through. But it obviously helps to have external beauty for the contests.”

In the meantime, however, Sarah is concentrating on fundraising for The Christie Charity, St Francis Hospice and Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund.

What she won’t be doing is fretting over curveball questions about missing airliners, despite having seen them asked before.

She reads the papers every day, she says, and is completely at ease with current affairs.

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