A THEOLOGY undergraduate who says she is happiest in jeans and sweater hits the catwalk next week as a contestant in a regional final for the Miss England crown.
And Millie Symington, who is 20, and a second-year student at Nottingham University, plans to win the Miss Nottingham title by modelling outfits bought exclusively from charity shops, all for less than £10.
The title comes with a £200 cash prize and the offer of a year’s modelling contract, but Ms Symington says that she is probably the least likely person to be a model: “I’m clumsy, my hair’s constantly a mess, and I don’t know the first thing about fashion.
“But, this competition is giving me the opportunity to show that beauty doesn’t have to have a huge price tag.”
Ms Symington, who volunteers at the Save the Children shop in West Bridgford, entered with a couple of her housemates because they thought “it might be quite fun.”
When they were told they needed outfits for the catwalk at next Thursday’s event at the Village Hotel and Leisure Club, in Nottingham, she decided to scour the charity shops.
A glamorous full-length dress came from Oxfam, and leggings for a sports outfit came from another secondhand outlet, as did a little black dress for a cocktail outfit. “I am such a pro at charity shopping; I rarely go anywhere else,” she said.
“I also have to have an ‘eco’ dress, which has been recycled in some way. I thought ‘Brilliant — I am already on that one.’”
Items not on her shopping list were a swimming costume and high heels. “I did look into the competition quite a lot because I didn’t want to put my name down for something I don’t agree with,” she said. “Anyway, most people would faint from shock if I came out in that sort of outfit.
“The organisers are trying to get away from the idea that you have to look stick-thin with long legs and high heels, and they are moving towards you being a well-rounded person with a nice personality, talented, and having something behind your face.”
“I haven’t thought about the Miss England final, but if I do get into it I’ll certainly keep my charity-shop clothing theme.”
Ms Symington, who attends St Mary’s, Nottingham, hopes to work in the field with an aid charity when she leaves university.