A Wigan woman who is favourite to win a plus sized pageant is using her platform to raise awareness of a unique charitable cause.
Sophia Hardman is leading the race to be crowned Miss Voluptuous UK 2017, and one of her strengths in the competition is the worthy cause she is campaigning for.
The 27-year-old from Marsh Green is using her platform to promote domestic violence charities.
The cause is very close to Sophia’s heart, after she started modelling three years ago in the wake of an abusive relationship.
She said: “I was trying to build my confidence, and make myself believe I could do better.
“It actually helped me a lot, and I’ve suggested it to a lot of people who were in similar situations. It’s about gaining that confidence.”
It was through her modelling work that Sophia was introduced to the world of pageants.
“One of my model friends said her child was doing pageants. I had just had a daughter so she suggested I enter her.”
After entering her daughter Victoria into several small contests, Sophia thought: “If I’m good enough to model, then why not take that on stage?”
She added: “I really hope to send a positive message. I’ve had so many people messaging me, asking how they can sign up and get into it. It was overwhelming, and I’ve made quite a few friends from it.”
Having taken to the stage several times in pageants, Sophia now looks to be on the verge of winning her first title, being far ahead of the competition in the voting stage.
And she says the key to being successful is having a cause that you are passionate about.
“With my past, I decided to go with domestic violence. I’ve been doing talks to clubs and schools to raise the awareness that it can happen to anyone.
“It’s one of the most commonly reported crimes, but people don’t speak about it. They want to hide away from it.”
She went on to reveal: “I walked away from my relationship pregnant, and I had no idea.
“But now I have an absolutely beautiful daughter, who I love more than anything, and I’ve come out better and stronger. You can’t let it beat you.”
The Miss Voluptuous UK finals take place in Cambridge on September 2nd. You can help Sophia win the contest by visiting https://thepageantplanet.com/profiles/sophia-hardman/.
Sophia also wishes to thank several of her sponsors, including Fifi’s Retro Fashion in Hallgate and Jinks tattoo studio in Pemberton.