The Glamour, the nerves and my 15 fabulous dresses
Miss Northern Ireland Melissa Patton (20), from Belfast, heads to China next month for the Miss World contest. She tells Chrissie Russell her style secrets
We get a sneak peek at Melissa's miss World Wardrobe
When do you head off for Miss World?
In about two weeks - on November 1 I fly out to the island of Sanya in China.
Are you nervous?
Not so much nervous as more eager to get away now - I still can't believe how quickly time has flown in since I was named Miss Northern Ireland on June 25. I've never been to China before so it'll be amazing just to experience a completely different culture for five weeks.
Where will you be staying and will you know anyone?
I'm flying out on my own but my mum and dad and Alison (Campbell), who organises the Northern Ireland contest, will come over for the final week. All 100 girls in the competition will be staying in the one hotel so I'll probably be sharing a room with one of the other contestants, which I'm really looking forward to. I can't wait - it's not every day a girl from Northern Ireland gets the chance to fly to China and take part in one of the biggest contests in the world!
What are you most looking forward to?
Walking out with the Northern Ireland banner on and knowing I'm representing my country.
What will the contest involve?
There will be a panel interview with the judges, a bikini section, a sports section, a talent section and then the final event. The sports and talent sections are both optional but I want to try everything so I'll take part in both. I like writing poetry so I think for my talent, I'll write a poem about the whole experience.
Has it been difficult getting prepared?
The biggest thing has been trying to get packed. Every day I'll have dinners and charity events as well as needing day wear and casual clothes. When I go on holiday for two weeks I normally have a very big suitcase so I don't know how I'm going to cope packing for five weeks. Posh Frocks on the Lisburn Road have been amazing in providing me with 15 dresses to take away with me and I can't thank them enough, and I'm also extremely grateful to Minette shoes for providing beautiful footwear. But it's a case of trying to pack without going into my excess baggage.
And there will be a lot of grooming?
I've actually always been quite good at the personal grooming. I used to work as an air hostess so I'm used to having to look immaculate at 4am. But I suppose I do make a bit more effort now since I was named Miss Northern Ireland.
How would you describe your style?
A wee bit of everything. I love to dress up and if I'm going out then I love to wear dresses - I'm quite feminine and I like to look elegant.
Who inspires you?
I really like Jessica Alba's style. Whatever she wears she gets away with it and also has quite a unique look. I like to dress quite differently, and that's why I'm delighted with the styles from Posh Frocks - they are all different to anything I've seen before.
Have you a favourite label?
To be honest I don't. I wear a lot of different clothes, mostly from the high street. If I see something I really like, and if I can afford it then I'll buy it. I love Victoria Beckham's range - but I definitely can't afford it!
What do you love (and hate) of this season's looks?
I'm not a big fan of the smock look but I do like leggings and the big accessories that are in at the moment, as well as getting into all the chunky knitwear now that the weather's getting colder.
Have you a beauty secret - the gym or low carbs?
I'm not a big gym person and I prefer to exercise at home using DVDs. I eat healthily but I still love the occasional Saturday night Chinese. I think cleansing is important and I would always cleanse, tone and moisturise. I'm using the Dermatological range at the moment which is great for my skin. I suppose my one beauty secret is that if your hair looks good then that can make any outfit look well. At the moment I love the glamorous, wavy look that I can get with heated rollers.
What is your favourite makeup?
When I won Miss Northern Ireland, part of my prize was £500 of Urban Decay makeup. I'd always loved the range so I was delighted when I got that. I think the eyeshadow colours are brilliant, especially the sparkly purple shade which I love at the moment.
Does purple play a big role in your Miss World outfit?
I'm not giving any secrets away about my final night dress! But I do love purple. I've a big mix of colours planned for my wardrobe.
What were your Miss Northern Ireland prizes?
They were amazing. I got a brand new Honda Civic for a year, my hair, nails and tan done for the year, gym membership at the Culloden, treatments at a spa in Killinchy, £1,000 to spend at Junction One, £1,000 at Pretty Woman and Prada sunglasses.
Goodness, so what would you get for Miss World?
I actually have no idea. The prizes for Miss Northern Ireland were amazing and I'm so grateful to everyone involved, but honestly the biggest thing for me was the title - getting that was the most proud moment for me.
Do you think you can win?
I'm going with no expectations. It's just an amazing experience. I've always been interested in Miss World, even as a young girl I remember watching the live final. I never could have imagined myself being part of it. I feel very lucky and very grateful. I've seen pictures of the other girls and they're all stunning so even to get down to the last 16 on the final night would be a huge achievement.
But if you did win, what would you do?
They'd have to carry me off the stage, and probably my mum and dad too.