A mum and daughter team from Irlam have landed back in the UK after stunning success in their first overseas beauty pageant.
Sarah Louise Pritchard and her daughter Ella Ravenscroft were competing together for the first time at the Galaxy International pageant in Orlando, Florida.
18-year-old Ella took the Miss Teen Galaxy England title at the Park Hall Hotel in Lancashire in February, while her mum was crowned Mrs Galaxy UK at the same event.
As a reward both got the chance to fly out to America for the 21 August Galaxy International finals with an 11-strong ‘Team UK’ outfit made up of the winners from Miss Galaxy England, Wales and Scotland.
After a series of testing events over four days, 41-year-old Sarah bagged the Mrs Galaxy International 2017 prize – the first plus-size woman to acheive the prestigious award.
She told SalfordOnline.com: “It was amazing. All these women had flown in from different countries and the competition was so strong.
“I’m a size 16. In the run up to the event, I was so conscious of my body,” she says.
“But as the curviest girl on stage I won the swimwear round and took the overall title: it just goes to show that you don’t need to be a stick-thin stereotype to get results.
“I’ve had so many messages from people saying, ‘I used to do pageants but then I had children and it all stopped.’
“I’m just happy to try to change that perception that you need to look a certain way.”
In America, beauty pageants are no hobby, they’re classed as a sport and can be a full-time career for the very best.
Professional beauty pageant coaches rule the roost and many girls start competing when they’re just six or seven years old.
There’s no single-day events, instead participants are expected to take part in four full days of competition to test their mental acuity and interview skills, alongside more traditional beauty trials.
“On the night I was so shocked to win. It was very emotional,” said Sarah.
“It was so intense and full-on and the stages so grand.
“I’m dedicating my win to all the curvy girls out there.”
Former Irlam and Cadishead High School pupil Ella Ravenscroft placed fifth in the overall Miss Teen Galaxy competition.
“When I found out I was going, I was really, really nervous, I felt sick, she said.
“But I loved being with all the girls on our team and I learned so much.”
The teenager started making waves at just 15 when she took the title of 2013 Miss Junior Teen Great Britain.
This time she faced stiff competition from the very best from Australia, the Carribean, Canada, Puerto Rico and America.
Despite not taking the international crown in Orlando the 18-year-old model says she’s learned from the experience.
“The competition was so tough. It’s taught me that if I want to win I need to work harder!”
Last year Ella was snapped up by Manchester’s Nemesis modelling agency and has since been on casting shoots with top fashion brands Missguided and Charlotte Crosby of Geordie Shore fame’s In The Style.
“It’s good exposure. I’ve just been asked to sign a three-year modelling contract so I’ll definitely continue with that.
“I’m also hoping to fly out to Texas for a course in November with Make Up By Sheila – the team who did our makeup – their work really inspired me.”
Ella currently also works in beauty and cosmetics with HD Brows and wants to continue that work.
But all this attention hasn’t swayed Ella to move overseas to exploit her talent.
“I love where I live,” she said.
“In future I’d like to open my own shop and [create jobs] here,” she concluded.