Teacher Maria hopes to be top of the class

A PORTSMOUTH teacher is hoping for top marks when she takes part in the Miss Universe Great Britain contest this summer.

Tuesday, 11th April 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 8:21 pm
Maria Wilkes in a modelling pose

If Maria Wilkes is successful and wins, she will go on to represent Great Britain in the Miss Universe competition.

The 26-year-old is a French, German and Spanish teacher who will be one of around 40 women taking part in the competition in South Wales, from July 13 to 15.

In the run-up she will be tasked with a series of challenges and fundraising for Strongbones – a charity which helps children from all over the UK with diseases of the bone.

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Maria Wilkes in her teaching guise

The event will also support survivors of acid attacks in India by supporting the charity Stop Acid Attacks.

Maria said: ‘This is my first beauty pageant and I am honoured to have been chosen as a finalist.

‘As a teacher, I have learnt so much by educating and leading pupils that I feel I can exceed the school boundaries and empower young women outside of the classroom.

‘Teaching French and Spanish at an all-girls school has allowed me to deliver my insights and love of other cultures to young women and give them the confidence and the ability to communicate in multiple languages. I am already Miss Wilkes, but it would be my dream to become Miss Universe Great Britain.’

Maria Wilkes in her teaching guise

As well as getting the opportunity to represent the UK for around three weeks at an exotic overseas location at Miss Universe, the British winner will also visit India to support the Sheroes Hangout initiative which helps women who have been the victim of acid attacks.

National director of Miss Universe Great Britain, Paula Abbandonato, added: ‘Pageantry in the UK is more popular than ever before and we have the most amazing line-up of young women from England, Scotland and Wales vying for the crown this year.’

Around 90 countries take part in the Miss Universe event. The dates and location for 2017 have yet to be announced.