Miss England Jessica Gagen who was bullied for being ginger has sights set on becoming first beauty queen astronaut to travel to outer space
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Jessica Gagen, 27, has revealed her lofty ambitions to become the first beauty queen to travel to outer space – as she prepares to train as an astronaut.
Already a budding rocket scientist in her final year of a degree in aerospace engineering, she wants to inspire other women into STEM subjects.
But she now believes her career path is written in the stars and dreams of one day educating children from on board the International Space Station (ISS).
Stunning Jessica, who was crowned Miss England two months ago, will be competing for the Miss World title in spring next year.
After that, she hopes to swap her ball gown and high heels for a spacesuit to literally become “Miss Universe" – as the first beauty queen and model ever to visit space.
Jessica is currently completing an integrated master’s degree at the University of Liverpool and plans to apply to become an astronaut within the next three years.
She also wants to use her Miss England platform to inspire young women to follow their dreams and be successful in male-dominated industries such as engineering.
Jessica said: “I hope me winning Miss England as well as my aerospace passion will show girls that they can follow their dreams and goals and be whoever they want to be. My engineering degree opens up so many doors for me and one day I hope to apply to the European Space Agency to follow my dream. I would love to go to space one day and I'm on the right path. After my degree is complete, I would have to complete three years in industry and then I can apply to become and astronaut.
"My dream would be to visit the International Space Station and educate kids from space and make STEM content up there like Tim Peake did. Engineering is such a male dominated industry and I want to educate kids about the different engineering roles and show that women can work in STEM too."
Jessica said she wanted to become an engineer from a young age after watching her dad work in the industry.
At school she enjoyed maths and science and also signed for her first modelling agency aged 15.
She started her science degree aged 24 alongside her modelling career as she saw similar traits within both occupations.
In August, Jessica was crowned Miss Lancashire, which automatically gained her a place in the Miss England final.
She was crowned Miss England this year in Birmingham-becoming the first redhead to ever win the beauty pageant after suffering years of bullying for being ginger.
Since winning, Jessica said her confidence has grown and she hopes her individuality will help girls love their differences and encourage them to be more confident.
Proving that the "sky’s the limit” when you set your mind to something, Jessica, from Skelmersdale, added: “Both modelling and engineering offer so much variety as careers. Both jobs allow me to work on different projects every day and work all around the world. The similarities between the two industries are why I chose engineering as my back-up.
"At university, my department has never had a soon-to-be Miss World competitor also studying for a degree in aerospace engineering and they think it’s great.
"When I was growing up there was hardly anyone in the spotlight with red hair. I am soon to become a model with an engineering degree and I think that is amazing. I want to inspire the next generation."