So my latest post is an interview with current Miss Surrey Curve, Nickey Bruce. It’s a little look into the life of a pageant contestant. In particular a bit more of a behind the scenes and what motivates someone to compete…
Let’s start with you telling us a bit about Nickey…
I am Nikita Bruce, but everyone calls me Nickey. I’m 26 years old and live in Surrey. My current job is as a child care officer in a children’s home in West Sussex. I work primarily with children who have disabilities, mainly autism, who also exhibit challenging behaviours.
We have our hard days but I love my job and wouldn’t change it for the world! I have a degree in Education Studies which I studied in Swansea 3 years ago! This is definitely one of my proudest moments.
I have a chronic disease called Endometriosis which means I have uterine tissue growing outside of my uterus. When my period comes the tissue outside of the uterus causes adhesions and scarring which cramp – it’s like blisters basically. It causes me chronic fatigue and so much pain.
When did you first discover plus size pageants?
When I finished university I felt I was the only plus size girl in the world. I had always been bullied for my weight. This meant I was insecure and in a constant cycle of yo yo dieting. All desperately trying to fulfil this ‘ideal’ of what I believed a girl should be.
One of my friends said to me “there is definitely so much more about being plus size that you’re missing out on”. Naturally at first I refused to believe that anything positive could come out of being fat. She then sent me a text telling me to look at the plus size hashtag on Instagram.
It was full of fabulous girls who clearly weren’t the stereotypical magazine ideal of a girl but my god they were beautiful. This gave me a whole new insight to being plus size. I realised I could be fat and happy. It was down to me to stop focusing on my own insecurities. I had to stop listening to people that had made me see being fat as a negative.
I followed the hashtag for a while and then I discovered Kat Henry. At the time Kat was Ms Surrey Curve 2015. I decided to follow her on her journey as I was genuinely interested. I’d never heard of a plus size pageant before! Kat was amazing and was crowned Ms British Beauty Curve 2015. It was then that I fell in love with the Miss British Beauty Curve pageant system. I just loved following the girls and seeing what amazing things they did with their titles! But my admiration was always going to be from a distance as I could never see myself applying.
What made you decide you wanted to compete?
I thought I would email Kat and congratulate her on her win. She seemed an absolutely lovely girl. It was thanks to that we got talking. I disclosed about my own insecurities and she said I should apply. She was convinced it would be the best experience for me. So in September 2015 I took the plunge and applied. On the 15th October 2015 I had a letter saying I’d made the finals of the national pageant! Shocked was an understatement. It amazed me what one single letter could do for my confidence.
2016 was to be my first year as Miss Surrey Curve and it was an absolute whirlwind. To be honest I can’t even remember it. I just remember an overwhelming feeling of fear. Fear that I was going to have to get on stage in swimwear in front of an audience. To walk around pretending that I was confident enough to wear a crown. I wasn’t a pageant girl and never imagined I could be. I needed to look for sponsors but didn’t know where to start. Where was I going to find pageant worthy dresses?
I did a number of appearances throughout the year. It was amazing how much getting out and about could boost my confidence. I felt I was really showing that fat people can do whatever they put their mind to. The day of the pageant came round very quickly and I felt so unprepared!! That being said it was amazing how quickly I felt in my element. For one of the very first times in my life I was surrounded by gorgeous, curvy girls who were full of confidence and really knew how to work a stage. I didn’t place in the top 10 in 2016 but that doesn’t matter. For me I walked away with friends for life and a new found confidence.
In 2017 I competed as Miss Surrey Curve again and I had to do myself proud. I was going to use my new found confidence to earn myself a place in that top 10. This was going to be my last year so I was determined to put my all in to it . I did lots of appearances and worked really hard to secure Queen of Curves in Carshalton as an amazing sponsor. I found the most pageant worthy dresses and worked my bottom off practising my walks. My cats were my judges. I literally walked around them like a pageant queen. They must have thought I was bonkers.
Pageant day came round on 5th August 2017 and what a day. Honestly I loved every moment of it. Never had I felt so confident and I felt at home on that stage. This was a complete turnaround from the 2016. I walked like I wanted to win, worked my outfits and most importantly I felt like a queen. When the results were announced I was thrilled to learn I came third – Miss British Beauty Curve 2017 2nd Runner up. I had a sash and tiara and was thoroughly pleased with myself.
Again I was surrounded on stage with so many gorgeous, curvy confident girls. I did not envy the judges one bit as it must of been such a hard decision. I came third to two amazing pageant worthy girls. Emily Diapre who was crowned Miss British Beauty Curve 2017 and Demi-Louise Bailey, Miss British Beauty Curve 2017 1st Runner up. Demi has become one of my closest friends throughout my pageant journey and believe me she just knows how to pageant.
What is your goal for Miss British Beauty Curve 2018?
This year I am giving back to the pageant system. As I’ve already said I don’t want to give too much away but I’d like to pass on some of what MBBC has given to me, to other girls. So…watch this space. In terms of my goal for pageant day – slay slay slay! My confidence is peaking and I am so ready to get on that stage!!
What have you personally gained throughout your MBBC journey?
Other than my confidence, I have gained opportunities. I’ve had opportunity to model for brands and I attended confidence workshops. I decided to get involved with a cause close to my own heart, the FAB campaign. FAB is the Fight Against Bullying campaign. It highlights both women and men who have combated the words of their bullies in order to get to higher places.
I was also fortunate enough to have taken part in the I’m a Queen campaign. This is about queens providing words of body confidence and positivity to younger children and teens who are easily influenced by the social ideology of how people should look. I also gained a way to deal with negative thoughts and situations. Pageantry really is a hobby that gives me something to indulge in!
What advice would you give to someone thinking about considering taking part?
Just go for it. Simple as that. What you will gain out of doing a year representing your county will totally outweigh the nervous feelings! You will be on a high and you’ll learn how to listen to the beat of your own walk! No one else’s opinion will matter to you anymore.
If you’re not sure pageantry is for you just go and follow some of the girls. If you follow them and their journeys for a year you will know for sure on way or the other!