An Interview with Miss Galaxy Scotland – Arabella Normand!
Congratulations on winning the title of Miss Galaxy Scotland! Since winning the Miss Teen Galaxy Scotland title in 2012, have you always wanted to come back to compete for the Miss Crown?
Firstly thank you so much! The answer is a definite YES! Galaxy really is a family and once you are a part of that family nothing else comes close! I think everyone who knows me well will tell you that I have never hidden the fact that my ultimate pageant ambition since handing back my Miss Teen Galaxy crown has always been the opportunity to once again represent Scotland in, what I believe is, the best pageant system within the United Kingdom at the most professional, well run and friendly international finals that I have experienced in my 5 years of competing.
Therefore winning the Miss Galaxy Scotland title in March really was a dream come true and to be told that I am the first girl ever to hold both titles has made me feel even more honoured to have been the judges’ choice that night as there were so many beautiful and lovely girls competing for the title.
There are always a lot of controversial stereotypes when it comes to the pageant world, what would you say to pageant critics?
Yes there are and being blonde and petite I am aware that especially people meeting me for the first time might well include me in their stereotyping! If I could have a rucksack for The Rucksack Project (my platform charity) for every person who mentions the infamous ‘world peace’ quotation to me then every homeless person in Edinburgh would be a lot warmer next winter! However I have learnt that the best way to change people preconceptions of pageant contestants is by example – by working hard to represent your title through appearances and charity work and by being open, approachable and friendly as this does a lot to negate people’s misconceptions. The harsh reality is that there will always be critics, but responding to their negativity with positive examples of how pageants can increase confidence, self esteem and help raise funds for so many worthwhile causes is, in my view, the positive way forward.
What part of your preparation for the international final have you found the most challenging?
I can honestly say that I am adoring every second of my preparations for the International final in August. So far these have involved me in lots of appearances that have enabled me to meet so many lovely girls when judging pageants and attending events. Travelling to the USA to stay with one of my best friends who I met at Galaxy in 2012, Brittany Deaville (Miss Teen Galaxy 2014) and train for August with the amazing Cyrus Frakes-King at Gowns and Crowns has been incredible and I have learnt so much. The biggest challenge that I can forsee is getting my gown and all my pageant outfits to fit into my luggage allowance! – though our wonderful Director Holly Ikin has already helped us with this one by arranging for us all to be allowed 2 free suitcases instead of just the one – thank you so much again Holly and Virgin Airlines!
What is your most treasured item in your wardrobe?
My most treasured item in my wardrobe isn’t actually hanging in there yet as it is my ball gown for the Galaxy Internationals which has been ordered for me by The Dress Studio, Culcheth. It is being custom made for me at the minute and I can’t resist looking at pictures of it every day to remind myself how lucky I am that I will have the chance to wear such a beautiful gown.
If you could meet any pageant queen, past or present, who would it be and why?
Having read Sally –Ann Fawcett’s incredibly entertaining book called ‘Misdemeanours’ cover to cover I have learnt a lot about the adventures – good and bad – that have befallen past pageant queens! However my ultimate role model who I would absolutely love to meet is Olivia Culpo, Miss Universe 2012 as, for me, she epitomises everything I feel is important in a pageant queen by always appearing to be down to earth and approachable and she is passionate about her family. I would love to ask her about her charity work for God’s Love We Deliver, who prepare and deliver meals to people who are too ill with cancer or HIV to feed themselves and to also thank her for breaking down one of the biggest stereotyping that pageant contestants fear – that you have to be tall to be a successful pageant queen!
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given that you would like to pass on to aspiring pageant girls?
This is a question that I have been asked before and it was to always be fully prepared for your pageant. I think there are 3 steps to achieving this:
1) Research – find the pageant system that fits you best
2) Practice. Practice, practice, practice so you are confident – watch u tube videos, watch yourself in the mirror while walking and develop your own style!
3) Find a platform that you believe in as giving back to your community is so important.
What is your guilty pleasure?
That’s easy! Waffles with chocolate ice cream on the top! I am already dreaming of the one I am going to be eating when we are spend a few days in Disneyworld after the competition is over – I’ve even researched the best ice cream parlours on their website!
Describe your Galaxy journey in 3 words
Emotional, positive and fulfilling
What part of the international finals are you most excited about?
Every part! I just can’t wait to get there and do my very best to represent Scotland in the most positive and professional way that I can, whilst also having the opportunity to make new friends and meet up with old ones – I am so happy that some of my American pageant friends who I have met through past pageants have told me they are planning to come and cheer for me on finals night which just proves how supportive pageant girls are of each other!
Thanks Bella! Best of luck at the international final in America!