A determined businesswoman is hoping her fellow Lutonians can vote her through to the Miss England semi-finals, as she hopes to inspire young women from BAME communities.
Fahima Begum, 23, has been selected for the ‘photo heat’, where she is competing against 21 other girls to get the most picture votes.
The HR and deputy operations manager has given herself a new year challenge, with determined Fahima to take part in an ECO fashion show, a general knowledge quiz, and charity work for ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ if she makes it further in the competition.
She is now hoping her fellow Lutonians will rally to her cause and help put Luton on the map.
Fahima, who attended Ickneild High School, said: “The reason I entered is to show that beauty is more than what’s on the outside; beauty comes in all forms, even from seeing who can push you to your highest point.
“I’ve also entered to discover who it is I am as a person, to push myself out of my comfort zone, and to challenge myself - this being a whole new ball game from my day job.
“This process will allow me to discover things I never knew about myself.”
However, Fahima’s aim is not just to challenge herself personally, but to inspire other young women, as she enjoys helping others.
In her spare time, the businesswoman has organised a collection for Dunstable Foodbank, while she has also volunteered with the group ‘Community Needs’.
She is now looking forward to the charity challenges that lie ahead, and hopes she can be a role model for Lutonians and girls from BAME communities across the UK.
Fahima said: “It was my sister, Ripa Aziz, who who encouraged me to enter, because she does make-up and I model for her Instagram photos.
“I hope to represent not only girls in Bedfordshire but those from minority ethnic backgrounds, and show that we can get ourselves out there.
“Sometimes people can put you in a stereotypical box.
“I have never experienced racism personally, but I know my sister has.
“It makes me hesitant, but I would say that if an opportunity arises and you don’t go out of your comfort zone, you won’t be the best person you can be.
“Do as much as you can while you can!”
She added: “I adore Luton. People say ‘oh you’re from Luton...’, but every town will always have some bad to it, wherever you go.
“We get bad press, but I feel safe in Luton; we’ve got quite a close knit community.”
The winner of Miss England will go through to Miss World.
To vote for Fahima, click the red link. The closing date is 12 noon on February 5: www.missengland.info/qualifiers/photo-heat-2/