Not just a pretty face

PUBLISHED: 11:51 15 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:20 06 May 2010

I appreciate that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I feel that Ms Gray is viewing the Miss Hertfordshire competition in a very negative way Why not look at the positive things that have come out of the event – the biggest being that over £

I appreciate that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I feel that Ms Gray is viewing the Miss Hertfordshire competition in a very negative way

Why not look at the positive things that have come out of the event - the biggest being that over £3,000 was raised by the girls for the Make a Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children between the ages of three and 17 years of age with life threatening illnesses - a very worthwhile cause indeed. But, in raising this money we - and I am sure the other girls will agree - had great fun and made new friends. Zahra, who came second, is unfortunately deaf, but she was able to compete as an equal and was absolutely delighted. What young woman wouldn't enjoy getting dressed up and made a fuss of?

With regards to the cheerleader routine, quite frankly this was no different to the many dance routines that I, and countless other girls, have performed at dance shows with local dance schools - it was not lurid or provocative.

On a personal note, I appreciate the reference to my athletic abilities - which has taken a great deal of dedication and commitment to achieve.

However, may I also point out without seeming pious, that academically I have 11 GCSE's (A*- C), achieved Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and Silver Awards and currently undertaking Gold (all involving voluntary work), and have danced with the English Youth Ballet. I am currently taking my A levels with the aim of going to University next September to study physiotherapy, which will include NHS placements.

Part of my prize was a years modelling contract, which hopefully will generate some much needed income to help fund my university fees and training, so that I or my parents will not be left with horrendous debts - like most students! In fact 18 of my fellow Miss Hertfordshire contestants were also students and most likely share similar circumstances, aspirations and values. Unfortunately, life can be very competitive and challenging. But, we all have our own unique talents and should make use of them, and any opportunities that may come along. So please - give us some credit - we are not just pretty faces!

Hayley Kruse, Miss Hertfordshire 2006

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