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Behind-the-Scenes At Miss England 2011, Birmingham NEC

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The Miss England 2011 finals are almost here, just one day away. Today sixty stunning finalists gathered at the Birmingham NEC to rehearse for what is the biggest event in the pageant world and UK Model Folios were there to capture it all exclusively to share with you.

This year UK Model Folios have been offered the opportunity to offer their services independently at the Miss England finals capturing those ‘what really goes on behind-the-scenes?’ shots and professional portraits of the ladies in That infamous evening gown. We advance our thanks to our amazing photographers Roy Strutt, Costas Constantinou and Antony Michael for their photography skills and support of UK Model Folios, and of course this event.

Today we wanted to share with you a quick glimpse of what happened at the rehearsals for the Eco Round- the opportunity for finalists to showcase their bespoke creations from recyclable materials. The rehearsals give them an opportunity to learn choreography and strut their stuff on the catwalk to a panel of highly credible judges who tomorrow evening will have the extremely difficult task of choosing the lady who will represent England for the year ahead and at Miss World 2011, which even more exciting for us Brits will be held in London.

Check out just a few of our shots below snapped by the fabulous photographer Roy Strutt and come back tomorrow for the result and first-hand shots of what happened at Miss England 2011!

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Leah Evans: Besinful’s Most Popular Model and Front’s Number One Alt Girl

Most people are quick to assume that if you become a model life equals luxury and tonnes of fame- every one wants to be your friend, right? I mean, really what do models have to worry about? They’re beautiful, popular and have the World at their feet, surely life is peachy for them? Wrong. Leah Evans, Front Alt model and currently the most popular girl on the Besinful website lets us in and tells us why being a glamour model isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be…

Hi Leah! How are you today?

Heya, I’m really well, thank you.

What made you decide to become an alternative glamour model?

It was mainly my friends telling me that I should give it a go, I used to laugh it off but one day I thought “I have nothing to loose, I might as well go for it” and that’s how it all started.

Were you nervous about your first shoot?

My first shoot was actually for Front magazine taken by the lovely Zoe McConnell so I was very nervous knowing that they would be going straight into a magazine! However, Zoe made me feel really comfortable and the nerves weren’t around for very long.

How long have you been modelling for?

I’ve only been modelling for about 9 months now, so not long at all!

Have you received any criticism yet?

Yes! The first time was after my feature in Front magazine, I had quite a few “friends” disagree with what I was doing and I also got a few nasty messages on the Myspace account I use for fans.

How did it make you feel?

I’ve always been a little bit insecure, so it was quite hurtful. The messages from strangers didn’t hurt me, it was more the fact that friends had turned on me. I guess that’s how you discover who your real friends are though.

Did it encourage you to carry on with your career and prove everyone wrong?

Yeah it really did, sometimes the “haters” do hurt my feelings a little but then again I’m only human, but I will carry on doing what I love to do, my true friends support me 100% and that’s all that matters.

How did your family and friends react when you told them that you wanted to get into glamour?

My mum has been amazing the whole way through, she has supported me every step of the way. My Dad was a little bit disapproving and so were a few of my friends. The majority of people in my life have been brilliant though.

Do you have any insecurities that you battle with?

I have lots of insecurities, I’m just like any other woman.

Do you feel that glamour models (particularly alternative glamour models) are unfairly judged?

Certainly, there is such a stigma with glamour models. Hopefully this will change in the near future! The thing is with Glamour modelling is that there is such a fine line between the images looking classy/fun or dirty/distasteful. As long as the glamour images are taken tastefully, I don’t see why there should be such a stigma. After all, nudists are not slated for showing their bodies. We all know what bottoms and boobies look like!

Since starting a career as a glamour model do you feel under pressure to look a specific way?

I will not lie; there is definitely a pressure to look a certain way. Maybe not so much in the Alternative Glamour industry as they embrace all different sizes and shapes, but you do feel the need to make sure you look your best as the industry is very large, there’s a lot of other models to compete with!

Do you find that boys and girls act differently around you now that you’re a model?

Both boy’s and girl’s instantly think you are easy, fake, arrogant, have no respect for your body and have your head in the clouds. This is not the case, it can be quite frustrating when people have false judgements, but I guess it’s just the way the industry goes, people will always judge, bitch and hate on girls in the Glamour industry.

At the moment you’re the most popular girl on www.Besinful.com has this encouraged you to ignore any nasty comments that you hear about yourself?

To be perfectly honest, I really do not know how I managed to become the most popular girl on “Besinful”. All of the other girl’s on the site are absolutely stunning. It has really helped my self esteem and confidence though and I’m so thankful to everyone that has sinned/supported me.

Have you ever felt pressurised by the media to look a certain way?

Hasn’t every girl? I think it’s awful though. I talk to as many fans as possible and I can safely say that nearly every fan I have had the chance to speak to has said that curves are the most attractive thing on a women- embrace them girls!

Do you think that there is the same amount of pressure on glamour models as there are on fashion and commercial models?

I think no matter what type of modelling you do, there will always be pressure. I just hope that more girls embrace what they have and only change if it will make them happier. Don’t change for anyone but yourself.

Has being an alternative model made it harder for you to be accepted into the glamour industry?

My tattoos have stopped me getting into various different agencies and jobs. I would advise any girl to carefully consider what type of modelling they want to pursue before getting visible tattoos. That said, I love all of my tattoos and don’t regret a single one, they are part of who I am and I have a few more planned.

What advice do you have for any alternative models?

You can never ask too many questions. I would be happy to answer any questions any girls may have if they are thinking of entering into alternative modelling. Just make sure you do your research and NEVER go to a shoot alone!

Do feel under-pressure to eat healthily and exercise?

Not from the alternative industry. I would never loose weight unless it was what I wanted to do personally. I love food way too much to be able to diet!

Would you ever consider plastic surgery?

I don’t think so. I would rather just grow old gracefully and be “real” but we will see how I feel about this in 40 years when the wrinkles set in!

Do you feel that the Media put un-necessary pressure on girls and women to look a specific way?

I think the way the media edit images is a little excessive. However, kudos to Britney Spears for releasing the pre-airbrushed images from her latest Candie’s photo shoot. It’s nice to see a woman proud of her imperfections.

Because you have a fan base, do you think that you represent an image for girls to follow? If so how does it make you feel to know that that there are girls out there who look up to you?

I have had quite a few messages from girls saying they look up to me and I’m absolutely flattered! I hope that girls will start to look at real girls as role models more than the celebrities you see in glossy magazines that have been airbrushed.

Since becoming an alt model have there been any moments where you’ve felt really unconfident about yourself?

Definitely. Us girls always have our “fat” or “bad hair” days, but we just have to troop through them and dive into that tub of Ben and Jerry’s at the end of the day to make ourselves feel better.