Chloe Ball-Hopkins' Post Pageant Blog | What's Next?
Our Amazing Brand Ambassador Reflects on her Whirlwind Experience as the First Wheelchair Using Beauty Pageant Contestant in the UK
On my right wrist is an arrow tattoo
Well the design started as an arrow then it grew into more. The arrow head is a star, because that’s where you should always be aiming
The fletching, which make the arrow fly, are made out of leaves and that’s because my name “Chloe” means "green shoot" in Greek. This is referring to new plant growth in the spring, the time when the cold and dark days fade and the light and warmth returns.
Along the shaft of the arrow is the word Believe, very self explanatory, but what isn’t so easy to understand maybe is the red ribbon running through the L. Well the L is a red cancer ribbon in memory of Lauren, my best friend who passed away from cancer in 2012 and who loved the song Red by Daniel Merriweather.
You might be reading this thinking oh that sounds lovely but what does that have to do with Beauty Pageants?
Well, a lot actually … so bear with me and keep reading and you will work out how that becomes relevant.
Ever since I was a little girl I have loved Disney!
Everyone knows that about me (well that and Christmas). The idea of being a Disney princess like Belle was my childhood dream.
The weekend just gone, I took to the stage at the Catwalk Perfect UK Grand Finals to try and be crowned one of this year's queens. That didn’t happen but I am not upset about that.
Sabrina North is this year's Miss Catwalk Perfect UK and is a worthy queen. Who I am pleased to say I am a princess for, in a roundabout way, because I am Miss Catwalk Perfect UK 2nd Runner Up
In sport talk that’s 3rd place/bronze medal. Which for my second pageant isn’t bad going!
I was also named Miss Charity in my division and was only £12 off of being overall Miss Charity!
In one weekend I had to confront my own insecurities face on and at the end of it came away as my divisions Miss Charity and 2nd Runner up too.
But I came away with so much more than a certificate, sash and tiara. I came away with confidence, self belief, friendships and memories.
My best friend Harriet, my Mum, Godmother, her daughter (my sister) Maddie and Dom my boyfriend all came along to the finals to support me.
Harriet has been with me through everything since nursery.
My mum … well I wouldn't be where I am without here in sense of the saying.
Julie, my Godmother, I couldn't ask for a better second mum than her. Maddie, her daughter, came as part of that package as the most special sister you could wish for.
Dom, he was the final person to say to me you can do this before I accepted my place in the Catwalk Perfect UK Grand Finals. I heard his (and the girls) support every time I headed out onto the stage that night. It makes you feel safe like you really can do it.
And that's just the people who came to the finals with me. I know there were/are so many more people around the country, and the world, supporting me with what I do.
The world can believe in you but you have to be bold enough and brave enough to believe in yourself.
I am pretty sure the people I have mentioned above will read this and say "we told you so" or "we were right". But if there is one thing this weekend has instilled in me it's this; that the world can believe in you but you have to be bold enough and brave enough to believe in yourself.
This weekend I did just that, I thought it was time I listened to all those people and I believed. Well you’ve already read what the result of that was.
This is something I will use as a legacy now, which kind of overlaps with the Paralympic legacy actually; Inspire a Generation.
When it comes to sport I will always encourage people with disabilities to get involved with sport knowing what a difference it has made to my life. But now I will also be trying to inspire a generation in a different way. For girls, and boys potentially, who grow up not believing in themselves and who have a lack of confidence.
It has taken years of me being told to believe in myself to finally do just that so I want to be that voice for those who are growing up now. Hopefully that way more and more girls grow up being confident and happy with who they are as they are and don't feel they have to be someone they aren't from what they see in the media.
Disabled Athlete, Sports Reporter and Beauty Pageant Princess.
I am someone who a year ago had just missed out on the Rio Paralympic Games and started working at BBC Radio Bristol in Sport. Now I am still working at the BBC doing lots of different things but I am also a Pageant Princess and going on to more exciting adventure (blog to follow!)
Me? Chloe Ball-Hopkins? A disabled athlete and sports reporter who is also a beauty pageant princess. Just goes to show doesn’t it? If I can be bold and brave enough to believe in myself to do that, what could you do if you put your mind to it? The answer is anything if you really want it and are willing to find a way.
The World is my Oyster
So remember that tattoo I mentioned that I had years ago? Now I am not saying I am getting rid of it because you always need a little reminder for times when you wobble. But. I don’t need a tattoo to tell me to believe anymore or to tell me that Lauren is with me or to tell me that I bring light and warmth to what I do. Because I know it now.
Don’t worry I am not going to get big headed and not fit through doors anymore. But this does mean I have encompassed my full potential which means only one thing now. The world really is my oyster … So what’s next??
Yes I plan to go from Pageant Princess to Paralympic Princess but there is still so much more time between now and then to do many more things. Get thinking Chloe … What’s next?!
Photographs courtesy of Mantis Photography
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