TWO brainy Brighton beauties will be vying for the Miss England crown today.
Miss Sussex, Stephanie Prior, 24, from Brighton and Miss Every Model Magazine winner, Stephanie Grao, 22, from Kemp Town, Brighton, will be competing against 58 other finalists in Miss England 2014.
Miss Grao, a graduate of Cass Business School in London, became interested in the competition after learning that the pageant was not just about looks.
She said: “I like Miss England because it’s just as much about what you say.
“I was bullied and picked on when I was younger so I didn’t have any confidence, I didn’t speak much and I hid behind my looks.
“I want to be a positive symbol to show other people that were bullied and picked on that you can be confident about public speaking and that what you say matters.”
Miss Phillips, a 24-year-old anthropology graduate, hopes to win Miss England to challenge current beauty queen perceptions.
Miss Phillips has worked as a fundraiser in Gambia as well as on local issues in Sussex, participating in local election debates.
She said: “I want to win Miss England so I can continue working in these areas of interest.
“By involving myself in such areas I hope to challenge current perceptions of beauty queens and pageants, showing that young women like myself use these platforms to make positive changes in society, and that is something to be celebrated.”
If Miss Prior were to win, she would go on to be the first woman of mixed race to represent England at Miss World.
If Miss Grao wins, she would be the first Miss England winner of South American descent.
Before the final takes place there is a Miss Publicity round, where the finalist with the most votes will receive an automatic place in the final 15 of the competition.
To vote for Miss Prior, text Miss England44 to 63333, and to vote for Miss Grao, text Miss England 53 to 63333, or call 0901 307 0079 and enter 53 for Miss Grao and 44 for Miss Prior.
Be quick though, as voting for the Miss Publicity Round closes at 8pm today, when the Miss England 2014 final starts in Torquay.