A junior doctor made it to the Miss England final after receiving a record number of votes in the qualifying round – despite never having competed in a beauty pageant in her life.
Saskia Fauguel, 27, said she “never dreamed of being a beauty queen, but she joined the famous contest after losing four stones and enjoying a” confidence boost “.
While Saskia had no festival experience, she drew a staggering 27,000 votes in qualifying to fly to the final, which takes place on the red carpet later in the year.
But she needs to balance her competitive commitments with a stressful junior medical doctor role at the NHS, where she is about to begin the six-year trial as a psychiatrist.
Saskia, of Todmorden, West Yorks, said, “I’ve never dreamed about this, I’ve never been to a pageant, but I saw the opportunity and thought, ‘Why not? “
“When I was younger I was aware of the festival, but I never dreamed of being in one myself. I’ve never had the confidence to choose it until now, and I’ve focused on becoming a doctor.
“Some of the girls will be models and have a lot of festival experience, which is the opposite of me, but I don’t mind being an outsider, I’m just very excited.”
Miss England participants usually qualify through live preliminaries. As the venues were closed due to the coronavirus, the process was digitized for this year’s event.
Saskia submitted pictures and videos of herself, including an introduction, catwalk, and talent video for judges to watch before being accepted as placeholders.
She appeared in an app along with other attendees and was stunned to see how a whopping 27,000 votes went her way – more than any other in Miss England history.
Saskia said, “That number of votes is really overwhelming, I don’t really know how it happened.
“I asked my friends and family to vote for me, so they must have done a really good job.”
Wildcard round winners usually have to pass an interview to appear in the final. However, the organizers were so impressed with Saskia that she was in the fast lane.
She said, “I’m still in shock that I actually made it.
“While I don’t know much about being a really determined person, now that I’ve made it to the final, I want to win.”
Saskia added: “My grandmother loves festivals too, so I think it will be nice for her to see me doing it, especially if I win she will be so happy.”
Saskia said her grandmother, 92-year-old Eileen Ganson, is interested in fashion and won a Glamorous Grandma competition a few decades ago.
The junior doctor, who has worked in West Yorkshire since graduating in 2019, says she was “shy” as a teenager and had a history of struggling with her weight and mental health.
However, Saskia’s fate began to turn last November when she embarked on a weight loss journey after finding out she had high blood sugar levels.
She said, “I have always been happy with how I looked, but when I found my health was at risk, I decided to make a change.
“Before I ate what I wanted, I like sweets and chocolate, so I ate a lot of them and I love flapjacks, I ate one of them every day.
“Now I keep an eye on everything I eat. I avoid fried foods and limit take out to one per week when it was a lot more before. “
Saskia’s lifestyle changes have resulted in her weight dropping from the 14th to just over the 10th.
She said, “I feel really good, definitely a lot better than before.
“It has also created a real confidence boost, which is why I am so excited to have Miss England.”
Saskia, who is single and lives with her family, graduated from the University of Bradford in 2019 and took on the role of junior doctor in Grimsby, then Bradford.
Since then she has worked in the psychiatry, ENT (ear, nose and throat) and A&E departments.
Saskia has just been offered a position with the NHS Greater Manchester, where she will be trained in psychiatry for six years, which she specializes in.
She said, “I see an overlap between Miss England’s stuff and my job.
“I would like to use the platform to raise awareness of mental health problems that I have previously suffered from and that I want to work with.
“I will also talk about Alzheimer’s, which is very important to me because my grandmother suffers from it.”
Saskia said she was “very excited” to see how far she can go in the Miss England Final, which will be played on a red carpet in Coventry on June 25th.
She added, “I think I’ll be a little nervous, but I’m used to being outside my comfort zone from work. Hopefully I’m fine.”