Finola Guinnane is the newly crowned Miss NI
Stunning brunette Finola Guinnane was crowned Appletiser Miss Northern Ireland at a glittering ceremony in the Europa Hotel last night.
The 22-year-old student from Belfast beat off stiff competition from 23 other finalists to walk away with this year’s crown plus thousands of pounds worth of prizes.
Above all, Finola will represent Northern Ireland in this year’s Miss World contest in November in London.
The business studies student works as a part-time sales assistant and also models for the Alison Campbell modelling agency. She counts business entrepreneur Alan Sugar and cycling champ Lance Armstrong among her favourite celebrities.
“I am absolutely thrilled to win, it’s just so exciting and surprising all at once!” she said.
“There were some amazing girls in the competition so it’s so good to be the one that the judges picked to represent Northern Ireland at Miss World. I’m really looking forward to a fun but hard-working year and I intend to do my best for everyone. My family will be so proud!”
Finola has several competitions under her belt already, including recently being crowned Miss Drumbo Park and the Specsavers Spectacle Wearer of the year 2009.
Polished nails were being
chewed as the nervous finalists waited into the wee small hours for the result.
Modelling agent and director of Miss Northern Ireland, Alison Campbell, was also celebrating 25 years of organising the glamorous event.
“Most of the last 25 winners are here tonight, even Majella Byrne who won my first Miss NI back in 1987,” she said.
Handing over her title, 2010 winner Lori Moore said it had been a memorable year.
“I have had such a wonderful year and am so proud to be able to now call myself a former Miss Northern Ireland,” she said.
“The title has opened many doors for me and I have had so many great experiences with some wonderful people, especially my mentor Alison Campbell.”
The final was hosted by Frank Mitchell, from UTV and former winner Zoe Salmon (left).
A catwalk-full of former Miss Northern Irelands from the 1970s through to the present day took part in a fashion show.
Five recent winners
2010 - Lori Moore (right) handed over her title last night after what she described as “a wonderful year”. This is in stark contrast to the tragic loss of her mother who was raped and murdered when Lori was just 16.
2009 - Six-foot tall blonde bombshell Cherie Gardiner.
2008 - Fermanagh’s Judith Wilson.|2007 - Melissa Patton was just 19 when she won the coveted tiara.
2006 - Catherine Milligan won as a 20-year-old on a gap year.