From pacing back and forth, practising my walk in the mirror for that big moment up on stage to being front page news across Wales, this truly has been an unexpected few weeks.
I’m the Port Talbot girl lucky enough to have scooped Wales’ most prestigious beauty pageant prize – the Miss Wales crown.
Now, not only am I an ambassador for Wales, but also for wonderful charities such as the Joshua Foundation. In November I get to compete on the Miss World stage in London.
I plan to use my status for the benefit of my community, country, local charities and other good causes; I have a busy and exciting year to look forward to.
The countdown to Miss World has already begun. As part of my Miss Wales duties, public appearances are a must. Being invited to the Grape and Olive at the top of Swansea’s Meridian Tower for lunch in the company of the Archbishop of Wales and others was an opportunity not to be missed.
After being introduced over a glass of fresh orange juice to Archbishop Barry Morgan, the conversation flowed and, conversing in Welsh, we quickly discovered that, separated by a good few years, we shared the same secondary school education – at Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera.
Another feature of my reign is that I’m lucky to have some fantastic sponsors, offering fabulous sponsorship prizes.
The prizes include a fabulous gown for charity dinner in September, nail, eyebrow and eyelash treatments, tanning lessons, professional makeup lessons and hairstyling. I can’t thank the sponsors enough.
For my next appearances, wearing the Miss Wales crown and sash, I’ll be officially opening Redrow housing developments in Cross Hands, Tonypandy and Aberdare. I’ll cut the red ribbons with pride, trying to keep smiling throughout.
The coming year will present some incredible opportunities and meetings with inspirational people. I feel lucky to be in this position, and incredibly thankful to all who’ve helped me get this far.
I aim to showcase Wales at its best and, hopefully, make the country proud of my efforts.
Incidentally, I’ve just discovered that I’ll be the shortest contestant in Miss World this year – by five inches in fact. Well, they do say that the best things come in small packages!
Don’t forget to look out for the second of my monthly Port Talbot Magnet blogs in a few weeks.
- Sponsors of Sara Manchipp, Miss Wales 2011, include: Dress Stop; The Lash and Brow Boutique, Cardiff; Su Do tanning, Cardiff; make-up artist Claire Evans; Vision Hair Design, Neath.