Interview: Julie Govan, Miss Scotland 2015 Finalist

n this month’s edition of The Student Advertiser we will be looking at the misconceptions surrounding the beauty industry – more prominently, ‘pageants’ and the clear differences between these and Mr/Miss… competitions. And so, to complete this process I spoke to Lanarkshire’s very own Miss Julie Govan about the truth behind such issues and her experience in the competition so far. As the final draws nearer, the girls need all of the social media involvement they can get! Please ‘like’ Julie’s Facebook page to show your support for our girl!

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“Congratulations on your place in the final, Julie! Lanarkshire is so proud to have you representing it and Stonehouse will most certainly be rooting for you in the Grand Finale. While things are beginning to get quite “go, go, go!” in these last few weeks before the final, The Student Advertiser were interested in finding out your thoughts on some matters – all make-up aside.”

  1. First and foremost, why did you decide to run for Miss Scotland 2015?

“Miss Scotland is a competition I have been interested in from an extremely young age. Initially, being wowed by the glamour of the contestants as a child,and then realising that the finalists are all very, very clever, not only glamourous, as a teenager.  Having followed the competition from such a young age, it’s always been something that I have been inspired to participate in. I wanted to compete to have the chance to become an ambassador for my country. I felt that this year was a good year to apply as next year I will – hopefully – be a Maths and Professional Education graduate, heading for full time employment.”

2. Would you say that your reasons for entering have changed throughout the process or are you still remaining true to your original ambitions?

“No. My reason so far have remained the same: to become an ambassador for Scotland.  However, during the last few months I have had some fantastic opportunities to meet some inspirational people and new friends.  As a Miss Scotland finalist, I’d like to use the role to raise awareness for Parkinsons UK, in my opinion, a severely under-publicised charity that do a fantastic job with this debilitating disease that affects many families.”

3. It’s a common idea that beauty pageants are loaded with stigma and stereotypes with many people palming off those who compete as “talentless”, “not smart enough for a job” and “lazy” – by the press, for using their looks for money. How do you feel about this stereotype perhaps being associated with you, out of your control? Is it a true representation of all girls who chose to compete?

“Firstly, Miss Scotland is not a beauty pageant: it’s a competition to find an ambassador for our country.  Of course, there is an element of beauty but it’s all about beauty with a purpose. You’ll find over the years that many of the Miss Scotland contestants are well educated, often university graduates, and they are certainly not talentless. The winner of Miss Scotland will go on to compete at Miss World where there is a talent round. As a finalist, I am well aware of the hard work required to carry out the role of Miss Scotland because the successful candidate will effectively have a full time job. Like everything, there is always negativity and always people who will stereotype. My feeling is these people lack a true understanding of what the competition is and have been misled. Both myself and the other contestants know within ourselves that we are not ‘talentless’, ‘not smart enough for a job’ or indeed ‘lazy’.  I have very tough competition; every contestant is a worthy winner.”

4. The world is lead to believe that the beauty industry can be a cruel to find yourself in – loaded with body-shaming, eating disorders and often incomprehensible and unrealistic standards. Having now tasted it, do you believe this is true from your own experiences? What are your reasons for your opinion?

“I agree to an extent that it is tough to be comfortable with your own body image when you are surrounded by an array of gorgeous girls – all with fantastic figures. However, if you’re confident enough within yourself, it shouldn’t be an issue. Miss Scotland isn’t looking for a “supermodel”. As I’ve previously said, they are trying to find an ambassador. Looking after yourself and your body image is healthy; everyone should have a healthy, balanced diet and an element of fitness in their life. Being a Miss Scotland finalist hasn’t had an impact on my diet plan or fitness regime. DMC Fitness is one of Miss Scotland’s sponsors and one of our challenges is a full day of fitness trails which was designed to show that contestants are required to have high energy and high stamina ticking on the inside.” 

5. As a student of maths, how do you feel having an education behind you will play in your favour in the approaching final? Does working towards a complete university education hold any weight in beauty pageants?

“I hope that being in full time education shows I am dedicated and always strive to be my best. I also hope that it influences future contestants from similar backgrounds to apply, moving away from the stereotypical beliefs that you asked about previously.” 

6. If not, do you think judges should look more at the complete package of a contender before making a finale decision?

“Miss Scotland contestants have to take part in a number of appearances and challenges which all challenge different strengths prior to the final. Therefore, the judges do look at the complete package, not just on how the finalists perform on the night.”

7. As you will know, nowadays the spotlight never veers off starlets like Kendall and Kylie Jenner who are branded as “only being beautiful because they have money”. In your opinion, do you feel as though the girls who are naturally beautiful will always triumph the ones more “made-up”? Do you feel as though conventional beauty is still valued by the panel?

“Beauty is only skin deep. And, in my opinion, the personality of an individual will always shine through. Of course, conventional beauty is still valued because the “made-up” look still requires a canvas to work from. Actually, in relation to Miss Scotland, the girls and I will take part in a number of these challenges bare faced.” 

8. What do you feel the purpose of pageants is and is it different for each finalist? Do you feel as though competing gives you a platform to say what you’d like to be heard or is it as simple as loving the glam of it all?

“I have competed in Galaxy pageants before and I would say these were more about showing your glamour – but I was young. Being a finalist in the Miss Scotland competition has been a completely different experience. I do believe that the purpose of entering the competition is the same for each contender, although we all bring different qualities. One of the greatest things about Miss… competitions is that they enable you to raise awareness for charities of your choice.”

9. Relating back to the idea of ‘body shaming’, low confidence and girls bullying each other: are these issues that need to be addressed? Is everyone who competes friendly and supportive, or do you feel that pageants are lacking ‘girl love’?

“I can 100% confirm I am competing alongside nine of the loveliest girls. This year’s competition is definitely not lacking girl love. We chat most days! I’m very thankful for this opportunity, I have made some great new friends.” 

10. Almost there, is there any advice you would offer a young girl keen to enter Miss Scotland 2016 who is perhaps weary of the stigma surrounding the beauty industry? 

“For anyone keen to entre Miss Scotland 2016, I would defiantly recommend it as already for me I have had lots of great experiences. Everyone who applies for Miss Scotland has a common goal, to become an ambassador for our country. As I said earlier, stigma and negativity come from those who lack an understanding of the competition. Miss Scotland is not all about the glamour of the finalist on the night but proving that through hard work and dedication, you are worthy.”

11. If you win Miss Scotland 2015, how will you use your title?

“If I was lucky enough to take the title of Miss Scotland 2015, I would use this opportunity to be the best ambassador possible, working closely with Parkinson’s UK to help raise awareness where it needs it most – for this cruel, often ignored disease. I wouldn’t hesitate to consider a year out of education which would enable me to give my undivided attention to the role and focus on growing to be the best Scottish representative that I know I could be. In doing so, I hope I will encourage girls of all ages, educations and backgrounds to work hard and follow their dreams.”

– 26.07.2015 Please remember to like Julie’s Support Page on Facebook!

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