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From beauty pageants to becoming a barrister

Laisha Johnson lives in Nottingham. She is a Miss Universe Great Britain finalist and is also training to become a barrister.

A friend of mine had been telling me to enter a beauty pageant or some form of modelling for years. At that time, I was studying law at university and running a fashion business so I didn’t think much of it.

Beauty pageants had never been on my mind and although I thought it could be fun to do, my interest level was not high enough for me to engage in any form of research to then apply. My friend would always tell me that I should be doing some modelling at least. It wasn’t until the end of 2019 when I decided to take on board what she said because I had been looking for a new venture.

Beauty pageants

I was looking for something exciting and life fulfilling. Something purposeful. I thought that maybe a beauty pageant might be the opportunity I was searching for or at least it might be the door that leads me to where I needed to be. So, I did my research and I applied to five UK beauty pageants hoping for the best.

A few weeks later, and to my surprise, I got into all five pageants and, of course, I chose to compete in Miss Universe Great Britain 2020.

Being a finalist

Being a finalist is an empowering experience. With the grand finals taking place in July, all being well, it has been important for me to think about my overall objective.

In preparing for the grand finals, I have researched key female leaders and women of inspiration to understand what it means to lead from your passion.

I came across a quote from the late Princess Diana where she said “I want to walk into a room, be it a hospital for the dying or a hospital for the sick children, and feel that I am needed. I want to do, not just to be.”

To me, this is what wearing the crown means. To show the world that I care, not by my words, but through my actions. That is my overall objective. To reach those who have been considered a lost cause, to fight for the rights of many, to speak out against social injustice and to leave my mark through the improvement of legislation.

Miss Universe Great Britain provides the perfect platform for me because I can combine fashion and beauty with my passion to reach and inspire as many people as I can, especially women.

Becoming a barrister

And as I come to the last of my exams, I’m looking forward to starting my career as a barrister, as this is another way I can help others.

Every day in practice, I will have the opportunity to live out my passion. I will stand up and speak for justice on behalf of many people and contribute to a better tomorrow.

It has taken me a very long time to get to this stage in my education but the process has taught me that with hard work and dedication, you can achieve anything you set your mind to if you don’t give up.

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.


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