Miss World hopeful banned for being a mother blasts "outdated" pageant
Miss World hopeful banned for being a mother blasts “outdated” pageant
12:34 PM on 27th May 2011
A model who was kicked out of a beauty contest after revealing she had a baby today condemned the pageant”s “outdated and patronising” rulebook.
Keeley Myers, 22, was banned under a 61-year old rule which was introduced by organisers of the Miss World competition to avoid young mothers who enter the contest and win from being separated from their children.
The brunette had qualified to take part in the Miss Manchester contest, the early qualifying leg that whittles down contestants who will take part in the Miss England and eventually Miss World pageants.
Banned: Keeley Myers, pictured with baby Layla-Mai, is petitioning Miss World organisers to change “outdated” rules that prohibit mothers from entering
But when she confessed to having recently given birth to Layla-Mai, now aged 17 weeks, she was disqualified.
Keeley, of Stockport, Greater Manchester who is engaged to Layla-Mai”s father said: “This outdated rule should be overturned once and for all.
“Young mothers face enough prejudice as it is. Mothers who can successfully juggle various responsibilities are positive role models.
“Plenty of women have careers and juggle both fine. It”s a bit patronising to say that a mother may not know whatshe is capable of committing to.
“I think girls want to see mothers doing lots of stuff. We should do away with the idea that children hold you back. Being a mother shouldn”t disqualify you from pursuing your dreams.
“I have zero regrets, Layla-Mai is the best thing that”s ever happened to me.”
DancerKeeley had been offered a coveted place at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts but turned it down after discovering she was pregnant.
Determined: “Plenty of women have careers and juggle both fine. It”s patronising to say that a mother may not know what she is capable of committing to,” said Keeley
She then entered the Miss Manchester regional leg and came in the top ten out of 40 girls.
“People would make snide comments about me being a young mother so itwas all the more reason for me to have a platform in a beauty pageant,”she said.
“I was really looking forward to taking part and had prepared for all the rounds – the jeans and T-shirt round, the bikini round – my favourite – and the elegant dress round. I love all of it.”
Disappointed: Keeley was looking forward to taking part after qualifying for the pageant”s Manchester leg
“I was offered a place but when I re-read the rules I saw mention of contestants not being mothers so I thought I”d tell them my situation.
“Thepageant manager was really nice about it, she seemed really sorry but she said it was down to the Miss World rules and she couldn”t do anything about them.
The management apologised to Keely, but admitted their hands were tied.
“They said that it was because if you win, you may have to take part in events.
“But I don”t see why I couldn”t be a good role model as Miss England. I worked all the way up to giving birth as a sales assistant and dancer.”
Director of Miss England Angie Beasley said: “The Miss World office has had this rule about not having children since the contest began 61 years ago.
“It is there for a reason and as I”m a working mother myself I completely understand why. The Miss World organisers have high family values.
“Being Miss World is the ultimate prize for Miss England. This involves taking a year away from home, constantly travelling the world and attending late-finishing events as the title holder.
“It would not be fair on the child or the child”s family if the mother were to do this for a whole year and we certainly would not want to break up a family unit.
“There are lots of very glamorous mothers who I am sure would make wonderful beauty queens and there are also lots of competitions now that they can enter that are less demanding should they win.
“We wish this contestant all the very best in her bid to be a beauty queen and hope she continues to be a great mother at the same time.”