‘Just because you love make-up doesn’t mean you can’t have a university degree’

Poppy Haskell at West Wittering beach
Poppy Haskell at West Wittering beach
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‘I want to be a positive voice for girls who don’t want to be labelled.’

That’s the message from Poppy Haskell, who is taking part in the sixth regional heat of Miss Swimsuit UK.

The University of Portsmouth student said she believes the contest can be a force for good.

Poppy said: ‘By entering I would love to promote the message that just because you love make-up and sparkly bikinis doesn’t mean you can’t have a degree, be interested in politics, be an activist and want to make a positive change in the world.

‘I want to be a voice for the girls who don’t want to be labelled.

‘I think you are your most dynamic and pro-active when your mind and soul are in a good place, and this starts with your body – when you look better you feel better.’

Poppy, from Bedhampton, added: ‘I’m entering the competition because I find having a goal to work towards encourages me to eat healthier, exercise more and generally live a better lifestyle.

‘I feel to have role models for younger girls is so important and whether we like it or not they respond more to people who tend to be glamorous and in the public eye. I would love to be that role model for them.’

Poppy studied a creative and media writing course at university and hopes to make it all the way to the final.

She has been scouting out her competition but believes her positive attitude will set her apart.

She said: ‘It looks as though all the girls are beautiful and inspiring women but if something were to set me aside I would say it’s my energy.

‘I would like to think that if you spoke to any of my friends or family that they would describe me as beyond positive and full of sparkly spirit.

‘If I am having a great day, everyone I interact with will benefit.’

Miss Swimsuit UK, which is in its fourth year, was founded by Verena Twigg and comprises seven regional heats and one online heat before the final on September 28.

Verena said: ‘This competition is all about empowering women to be their boldest, most beautiful and confident.

‘Our competition celebrates women who enjoy healthy and active lifestyles. The process will be tough, but the opportunities that await the winner are life-changing.’

Previous winners of the contest are set to attend the final and the confirmed celebrity judges are ITV Love Island’s Emma-Jane Woodhams, Katie Salmon and winner Jessica Hayes, X-Factor and Celebrity Big Brother’s Chloe Khan and MTV’s Ex on the Beach Helen Briggs.

The winner will receive a set of veneers from Secret Veneers, a one-year supply of Star Tanning, and a photo shoot with top fashion photographer Nathan D’Amour.

Poppy added: ‘Winning would be a dream come true.

‘At the University of Portsmouth on my creative and media writing course they always taught us never to use cliches, however sometimes they are the only thing that embody exactly how you feel.’

‘So although I usually avoid cliches like the plague, I have to say I would be over the moon.’