Crowned as Miss Portsmouth – but not from the city

Winner of Miss Portsmouth 2011 Chantelle Lewis (19).
Winner of Miss Portsmouth 2011 Chantelle Lewis (19).
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SHE’S the new Miss Portsmouth – but Chantelle Lewis isn’t from the city.

And while we’re at it, Miss Eastbourne is from Liphook and countless other Misses don’t actually represent the town or city in their title.

Welcome to the strange world of the Miss England contest, which has rules stating that women can enter competitions outside their home town even if they have no links there.

Organisers say that’s because some areas don’t hold the event, and some contestants can’t make it to the heats held in their town or city.

It’s those rules which have allowed 19-year-old Chantelle who is actually from Bournemouth, to be chosen to represent Portsmouth this year – beating candidates from the local area.

Last year’s Miss Portsmouth Charlotte Thomson, who lives in Fordingbridge Road, Southsea, said she was surprised the rules were so relaxed.

Charlotte, 23, pictured right, said: ‘I was quite surprised when I heard. I’m originally from Cornwall, but I had lived and worked here for two years when I entered. The general public will be miffed that Miss Portsmouth isn’t from here.

‘The idea is you’re supposed to represent the city, whether you live or work there. If I lost to someone who wasn’t from the city I would be quite offended.’

She added: ‘Chantelle is a beautiful girl and I’m happy to show her around the city any time and spend time with her.’

Competition organiser Leah Shafik said: ‘You don’t have to live the city to represent it – you can live in the region.

‘If you can’t get enough contestants from one city to take part then you can also include others into the competition. Chantelle was picked because she came across really confident and is extremely beautiful.

‘Bournemouth is around 50 miles away from Portsmouth, which isn’t too far.’

And the new Miss Portsmouth says she is excited to represent the city.

Chantelle, a bank clerk, said: ‘I was so overwhelmed and excited when I was told I had won.

‘I’m not far from Portsmouth and I’m glad to be representing the city. My sister was crowned Miss Bournemouth in 2004 and ever since then I had wanted to enter the competition too.

‘I’m keen to work with charities that help under--privileged children.’