Photo by Ollie Baxter-Smith of Panoramic Media Ltd
Will Blue Badge Co Brand Ambassador, Chloe Ball-Hopkins Be Miss Catwalk Perfect Uk 2017?
Chloe Ball-Hopkins is Making History One Beauty Pageant At A Time, Next Up Catwalk Perfect UK
Blue Badge Co have recently formed an important and rewarding relationship with a truly brilliant woman. Chloe Ball-Hopkins is our new brand Ambassador and we are supporting her in her aim to raise £2,017 for The Brain Tumour Charity with Catwalk Perfect UK by November 2017.
From GB Para Athlete to Beauty Pageant Contestant.
Just over a year ago, after a 5 year rollercoaster ride through epic highs and cruel lows, Para Olympian Athlete Chloe Ball-Hopkins found herself in a dream job as a BBC Sports Reporter for Points West. If you want to read more about Chloe's rollercoaster life story, click here
Looking out for a story, she decided to report about the approaching Miss Bristol Beauty Pageant but from a new angle. She phoned up asking if anyone in a wheelchair had ever entered and could she interview them? The answer she got was to propel Chloe onto a totally new and unexpected tangent. No, nobody in the history of British Beauty Pageants had ever entered a in a wheelchair. “Would you like to enter?” She was asked. Chloe’s instant reaction was a definite “No”. This was really, not her scene at all. It was all about image and glamour, not something she would ever have considered. Until now. And the more she thought about it the more bothered she became by the total absence of disabled women in beauty pageants. She had been invited to do something radical, something not just personally challenging but which would challenge perceptions and challenge an out dated system. In the end, it was easier to sit with saying “Yes” than saying “No”. Well somebody had to do it!
Help Chloe in her bid to raise £2,017 in 2017! Follow this link to her Just Giving page now!
In April 2017, Chloe Ball-Hopkins became Britain’s first ever wheelchair user to enter a beauty pageant!
And she rocked! Chloe entered the pageant, determined to do it on her own terms, as a genuine, regular young woman. Refusing the spray tan and false eyelashes so intrinsic to the business, she bought a high street evening dress and did not go overboard on the make-up. “I wanted to be an example, not just to people in wheelchairs but to anybody. You can enter and be yourself.”
She also enlisted the artistic talents of her dad. There was a West End theme for one of the rounds and, unable to decide which musical to represent, Chloe had a white dress painted up with as many West End posters as her dad could fit onto the unconventional canvas. The results were fabulous and Chloe went down a storm.
Chloe didn’t win the Miss Bristol title but that’s not why she entered. Her presence at the pageant had a powerful effect on the other participants and all those watching. The other contestants together created an award specially for Chloe for being nominated and presented it to her in a ceremony. They also nominated her for an inspiration award and she knew she’d achieved what she had hoped. “I want to spread the message, and the motivation, to do whatever it is you want to do. Don’t feel restricted. If there’s something you want to do but you feel like you can’t because you haven’t got the confidence, do it. Don’t think about it too much. And don’t leave it too late. Life is short.” Just before she went onto the catwalk Chloe says she had a “fight or flight” moment but pushed through and was richly rewarded by the overwhelming reception she received. She was inundated with people not only praising her for being the first to do this in a wheelchair, but also asking “What’s next?” Never one to miss an opportunity, Chloe used the momentum from the Miss Bristol pageant and threw herself into the next challenge.
You can have all the belief in the world from the people around you, but you have to have self-belief too.
Having been pleasantly surprised by how interesting the contest turned out to be, Chloe decided she could do this again. She heard about the pageant, Catwalk Perfect UK, and made the call. When she spoke to Catherine, the woman responsible for starting up the pageant, something struck a chord with Chloe. For a start the recruiting process for this pageant was less conventional “Catherine wanted it to be a more inclusive and accessible pageant for anyone who wants to enter, you know, wheelchairs, tattoos, anything” Not only this but the pageant was “massively about congeniality and about charity” The charity the pageant is supporting this year is the Brain Tumour Charity, a fact that sealed Chloe’s commitment to the project.
5 years ago, Chloe lost her best friend, Lauren to a brain tumour Chloe and Lauren had done everything together and had even planned to undertake a charity skydive together in 2013. This was not to be. Chloe took the dive alone, raising money for Muscular Dystrophy. This year she wants to fulfil a promise to herself to skydive once again, this time to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity in memory of Lauren.
Help Chloe in her bid to raise £2,017 in 2017 with Catwalk Perfect UK! Follow this link to her Just Giving page now!
“That’s why I want to do this pageant, I want to promote inclusivity at the same time as raising funds for the Brain Tumour Charity. After I signed up, three more girls registered because they’d seen that I had and felt empowered. ‘If she can do it I can’ that’s the message I want to send, if I can do it you can."