This week we speak to Gina Underhill, Miss Bristol 2017 and Bar Manager at Aluna
People arguing that beauty pageants don’t have a place in 2017 is what most motivates me to do them. I ended up doing Miss England after winning Miss Bristol this year – I’ve wanted to do it since I was 15 and this was the first time I’ve managed to get there.
It was an amazing three days, all about challenging yourself, showing how capable you are. You get tested on your sport, talent, ability to talk to people, a brainy round with a general knowledge quiz – it’s about evaluating you as a person, how able you are to help people, being confident in yourself, highlighting the inner beauty of many different types of people.
I remember going shopping when I was about 10, I saw a girl doing a photo shoot in the street and thought ‘I want to do that’. I’ve always been tall, slim, so I started entering beauty pageants and it gave me fire in my belly to do even more. People began to scout me for shoots, asked to take my photo because I had quite an interesting face. It all went from there.
Being Miss Bristol 2017 has given me a massive platform: being able to help charities, appearing on local radio and TV, making connections that can help my bartending as well. I consider myself quite down to earth, don’t fit the modelling or pageant stereotype. At Miss England it was so interesting to be surrounded by people who wear heels and live the glam lifestyle every day – I’m normally running up and down in my trainers behind a bar, getting my hands dirty. I love the idea I can switch between modelling and bar managing, one day a princess the next dealing with some drunk guy outside the bar.
I joined Aluna a month after it opened and love it – we’re a really tight family. Bartending is under-appreciated. I don’t just work in a bar, I’m like a therapist – walk into a bar when you’re having a bad time, I’m there to talk to, to provide the happiness and calm-down.
■ www.facebook.com/GinaUnderhillModel; www.aluna.uk.com