Miss Brighton 2022 on tackling stereotypes in women’s sport

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Mazic News catches up with Danielle Evans after historic Women’s Six Nations and winning Miss Brighton 2022.

Danielle Evans is preparing for her third year competing in the upcoming Miss Great Britain pageant after winning Miss Brighton for the second year running.

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As well as preparing for September’s final, the young beauty queen will also be training for the 2022/23 rugby season and working on her hugely successful ‘TryMe’ campaign.

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Mazic News spoke to Evans after she received her virtual crown for Miss Brighton 2021 and a year later we were able to catch up with the Seaford Ladies Rugby Prop following her success as Miss Brighton 2022 and find out what else the Seaford Ladies Rugby Prop is up to has in the pipeline as she continues to break stereotypes in women’s sport and beyond.

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A few weeks ago, England’s women were crowned the Grand Slam winners of the TikTok Six Nations tournament.

As well as securing a stunning 16th Grand Slam win, the Red Roses were part of a hugely historic event in the world of women’s sport – for the first time in history, the Women’s Six Nations were given their own title sponsor in TikTok and had each other secured their own calendar place separately from the men’s tournament.

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When asked about the groundbreaking partnership, the beauty queen cum rugby prop said it was a “much needed step”. She added, “Access (for the Six Nations) was terrible so obviously it wasn’t going to get the exposure and coverage it deserved.”

Danielle Evans at the Miss Brighton Finals 2019

The response the Six Nations received was phenomenal, with records being broken in both television viewership and stadium attendance.

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“It shows that people are interested,” Evans said. “People want to know it… Hopefully more people will understand this game better and more people will be willing to play.”

As a beauty queen and rugby player, Evans, 25, has always faced a wall of labelling, stereotyping and confusion that anyone could do both.

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Just being a rugby player can generate hostilities as ill-informed people constantly question their strength and mental toughness to go about it, but Evans has fully embraced those mindless notions, including adding beauty queen to her resume.

“There’s a cliché in rugby that you have to be this strong, athletic guy. But it doesn’t have to be at all,” Evans said.

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When asked about the comments she’s received while pursuing both of her passions, she said, “It’s always the same ‘Really? You don’t look like you can do that’ and it’s like, ‘Well, why?’ Is it because I’m a plus size person so I can’t enter beauty pageants? Because obviously I can! Or if I’m too glamorous, does that mean I can’t run for a spot?’”

To address such tedious typography, Evans launched the “TryMe” campaign in 2019 and saw an immediate response of 60,000 people who joined within the first two months.

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“The results were just so humbling (to see) that people were so interested in this message, to break these stereotypes and show that you can be both — no one should define your boundaries. It sounds cheesy, but it’s the truth.”

As her campaign continues to thrive and reach international audiences, Evans remains committed to taking her message to smaller communities in need.

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With people like stud in the mud Charity founder Zainab Alema, who can be seen in her Facebook episodes, told Evans that while she dreams of having the Red Roses in future episodes, her main priority is still to bring attention to other smaller clubs: “It is important to sensitize people like me. or in the local community who need that extra support.”

Not only is Evans struggling to contend with unfounded stereotypes, she was born prematurely, leaving her with a lifelong lung condition.

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But the prop remains despite her disability and hopes her ‘Try Me’ inclusion campaign can extend to those who fear their physical condition could affect any chance of taking up a sport, particularly one as intense as rugby.

“Having a disability is scary. I have a number of health issues but I’ve still found a place in rugby. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, there’s a place for you in the game.

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“With the right people around you, you’ll never feel embarrassed about your disability — and that’s the message you need to get across.”

Evan’s position in the pageantry community allows her to continue her fight for more inclusivity, and despite the glamor world’s growing acceptance of breaking the classic beauty queen stereotype, Miss Brighton 2022 makes it clear that her fight is still ongoing: “There are some Beauty pageants which are still restrictive but I hope with time they will advance as much as Miss Great Britain.

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“People have to feel represented. I think it’s so important that pageant systems have moved away from ‘You have to be a certain weight and height’ – you shouldn’t be defined by anything.”

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