Reporter who went to write about Miss England beauty pageant ends up winning heat


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Trinity Mirror journalist Laura Gooderham is now quitting her job to be a teacher and take part in other pageants

BYROD MCPHEE - 23:02, 16 JUL 2017

Laura is crowned Miss Great Grimsby and District (Image: Grimsby Telegraph /

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When reporter Laura Gooderham went to cover a local Miss England heat, she didn’t expect to end up winning it.

And the Trinity Mirror journalist, 24, went on to compete in the main event at the weekend – where she lost out to Stephanie Hill, 22.

Laura, from Grimsby, North Lincs, is now quitting her job to be a teacher and take part in other pageants .

Here, she opens her Miss England diary…


“How on earth am I going to make this story sound interesting?” I ask myself as my boss sends me to cover auditions to become Miss Grimsby.

I have no interest in that sort of thing – not until I interview last year’s Miss Grimsby, Millie Margetts, who suggests I enter.

Laura thought she had no chance of winning (Image: Rex Features)
But I still thought: “NO chance!” I’ve just never thought of myself as being a beauty contestant. But over the next week I’m bombarded with emails and messages from the Miss Grimsby organisers asking me to enter.

Finally, I said, “Why not? I might prove Grimsby isn’t grim and actually has a bit of glamour.” So I take the plunge, get a photo taken to enter – then instantly worry whether friends and family will take the Mickey!

Size six seven stone former beauty queen can eat six burritos in 12 minutes and 22 Big Macs in an hour

Reporter had never entered a pageant before (Image: Rex Features)
The day of the final for Miss Grimsby. I’m so nervous about stepping in front of an audience for the first time. But the moment I slip on the dress and heels, I feel transformed. The hair, the make-up, the outfits... it’s such a sense of escapism.

I remember thinking I no longer cared what anyone thought. “I’m just going to enjoy this,” I thought. And it must have shone through because I was crowned Miss Grimsby.

Best of all, it means you go straight through to the Miss England final. Then it sinks in that I’ll be competing against beautiful girls from around Britain – and the competition might be cut-throat.

JUNE 4th

In training for the finals (Image: Rex Features)
I get to meet my fellow contestants at the Miss England semis. It turns out they’re all lovely and there’s none of the bitchiness you hear about.

In fact, they start giving me little tips to look my best – like putting baby oil on your skin to make it shimmer or flicking your head back and forth backstage to keep your hair full of body. Best of all, they show me how to walk down a catwalk – because I have a habit of marching! But walking is the least of my challenges on my way to the final.

JULY 12th

Other hopefuls who walked the catwalk
The build-up to the final begins. We go to Birmingham, where we’re given a workout with sprinting and press-ups. Me and fellow contestant Lauren Lyon encourage each other to try to get the longest time at planking.

Then we eat. And we’re always encouraged to eat. It’s not just salad and water either. We munch our way through pizza, chips, chili. But all of us steer clear of alcohol because we want to be at the top of our game.

Contestant hopes to impress Miss England judges with very unusual talent which shows 'modern beauty queen'
JULY 13th

In rehearsals for the Miss England finals (Image: Rex Features)
We do a quiz to test our knowledge. The aim is to show that we aren’t just about beauty. And we all did really well – but then we’re a smart group of women. One of us is a radiographer, another is a teacher, another a biomedical scientist.

I find out all this interesting stuff about my fellow contestants during a spa night. We also get to meet the contestants in the Mr England contest! ­Unfortunately, they’re staying in a different hotel.

JULY 14th

Laura was thrilled to make it into the top 20 in the final (Image: Rex Features)
The big day arrives and, strangely, I’m not nervous.

When I walk down that catwalk I feel fantastic and I know I’ve just achieved my dream.

When I realise I’m in the top 20, I’m overjoyed.

That I don’t win, or come in the top three, doesn’t matter. It’s a massive achievement – and one I celebrate. Some of us get back to our hotel at 5.30am.

History repeats itself as beauty queen takes pageant title first won by her gran in 1965
JULY 15th

(Image: Rex Features)
The day after the night before. I feel a little rough but also pleased with myself.

I showed it doesn’t matter whether you’re from Grimsby or Chelsea, if you set your mind on something, you can achieve it.

Mr England Jack Eyers and Miss England Stephanie Hill (Image: Rex Features)
I also raised money for charity and took a new direction in life.

I’ve been bitten by the beauty pageant bug and can’t see myself going back to journalism for a long time.

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