First UK Wheelchair-Using Beauty Queen?
Blue Badge Co. brand ambassador Chloe Ball-Hopkins competes to become UK’s first wheelchair using beauty queen
Blue Badge Co brand ambassador Chloe Ball-Hopkins is vying to become the UK’s first wheelchair using beauty queen to inspire those with low confidence to believe in themselves.
“Every woman is perfect for our catwalk”
The GB Para athlete and BBC Sports reporter, whose partnership with Blue Badge Co began this year, will be competing in the Catwalk Perfect UK pageant with the grand final taking place on Saturday, 4th November.
As part of her entry to the pageant, Chloe has been busy raising money for the Brain Tumour Charity in memory of her best friend Lauren Scudamore who died due to a brain tumour in 2012. Chloe has smashed her target of £2017 raising over £6000 with some donations still due to come in.
She chose the beauty pageant due to its tagline: “Every woman is perfect for our catwalk” and hopes to inspire others who, for a range of reasons, may not consider themselves capable of competing in such events to break through such boundaries.
Chloe first competed in a beauty pageant earlier this year when she entered Miss Bristol after contacting them for work to ask if anyone in a wheelchair had entered before. They said no and invited her to get involved.
“I did it and got a really good response to it so I thought I’d keep this ball rolling,” she said.
“If you said to me a year ago that I would be a couple weeks off competing in a national beauty pageant, I would have said, ‘You’ve got the wrong person.’
“That’s because of all the stereotypes associated with beauty pageants – but it’s not all about having your hair and nails done, it’s not what people think. It is much more about the people and congeniality and there’s a massive charity element to it.”
Refusing to let Circumstances Prevent Pursuit of her Dreams
Chloe was born with a rare condition called arthrogryposis and has needed bone reconstructive and repositioning surgery every year of her life. Aged four she was also diagnosed with muscular dystrophy which means her muscles do not repair after surgery.
But Chloe refused to let this prevent her pursuing her dream and aged 14 was touted as a potential GB Paralympian in wheelchair racing for the London 2012 Games.
When 2012 came, Chloe was hospitalised for several months with glandular fever and was unable to compete - the same year Lauren lost her battle with cancer.
Putting this appalling year behind her, Chloe discovered a new love for archery and displayed great talent for the sport. In 2014 she was selected for the GB Para archery team and won a European Championship Bronze medal.
Months before she was hoping to fly to Rio for the 2016 Paralympics, Chloe was struck down again by an illness which took her out of training, and then had to have her shoulder reconstructed, ending her hopes of travelling to Brazil.
"If there’s something you want to do that’s outside your comfort zone you should go ahead and do it."
Instead, Chloe focused on her studies and successfully applied for the BBC Kick Off Scheme for trainee sports reporters, which resulted in her landing a role reporting for BBC Points West and Radio Bristol
It was during research for BBC story that she contacted the Miss Bristol 2017 Beauty Pageant and unexpectedly found herself entering. Now she is busy preparing for her appearance at Catwalk Perfect UK.
“There are times when I think, ‘What am I doing because it’s not really me.’ But I am doing it the way I want to do it and I feel I should be doing this. There are other times that I get really exciting thinking about it.
“When the negative thoughts come out I think, ‘Shut up Chloe, don’t listen to that voice in your head’. I think the athlete in me is kicking in and I keep thinking about how in less than two weeks’ time I could have a crown on my head and be a beauty queen.
“It would be quite a groundbreaking and it would send the message, if there’s something you want to do that’s outside your comfort zone you should go ahead and do it. If you never leave your safety bubble, that’s not living.
“That doesn’t just apply to beauty pageants, it applies to everything.”
We Wish Chloe Well on 4th November!
Ellen Green, CEO of Blue Badge Co, said: “We want to wish Chloe all the best for her next beauty pageant. She’s an incredible and inspiring young woman and it would send out such a positive message on so many levels if she were to be crowned queen.
“She’s been working with us for a couple of months now. Chloe and Blue Badge Co are united in our desire to challenge stereotypes about disability and prevent people who have challenging health conditions feeling restricted by them.”
If Chloe has raised the most for the Catwalk Perfect UK's designated charity; The Brain Tumour Charity, she could be crowned Miss Charity! Help her win the crown by donating now:
This blog is from a Press release written by Miranda Prynne of Purple Fish Agency
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To read more about Chloe Ball-Hopkins, visit our previous blog posts here: