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Q&A: we chat to Miss Northern Ireland Rebekah Shirley

By Kerry McKittrick

Published 04/05/2015

College girl: reigning Miss Northern Ireland Rebekah Shirley
College girl: reigning Miss Northern Ireland Rebekah Shirley

The 19-year-old from Ballymoney is currently Miss Northern Ireland.

My best moment

That has to be attending Miss World. The whole year as Miss Northern Ireland has been a highlight but the Miss World event really stands out for me.  To be able to represent Northern Ireland is something I’m very proud of and I’ll never be able to do it again. It was hard work with 14-hour days but it was also a lot of fun and I’m still in contact with all the girls I made friends with. I never thought I would have the opportunity to do something like that.

My best way to relax

I love doing something simple like coming home and curling up on the sofa or giving myself a pampering session with a bath and a face mask — a mini spa.

My best job

Other than Miss Northern Ireland, of course, I’ve also had a part-time job in Topshop for a couple of years now. I kept that on because I’m really into my fashion and this way, I can keep up with the latest trends. I love the people aspect of it, too.

My best advice

A few days before I left for Miss World, Alison Clarke, the organiser of Miss Northern Ireland,  phoned me. She told me to go there to enjoy myself and not to let the pressure get the better of me. She said I should enjoy the experience and not worry about the competition. It was brilliant advice and really put me at ease. Alison knows that you’re only ever going to get to do it once so you should enjoy it.

My best song

It’s probably John Legend’s Ordinary People. It’s mine and my boyfriend Michael’s song, so it’s always going to be a favourite.

My best achievement

When I was crowned Miss Northern Ireland, I was into my last two months at college. It was quite stressful as I had to fulfil my Miss Northern Ireland duties and work for my AS Levels at the same time. I really had to struggle to find a balance but I worked hard and got my three distinction stars. That was a really big achievement for me and because of that I can go off to study film and television production at Northumbria University in September.

Best film

It’s a real weepy — P.S. I Love You. It has Gerard Butler in it, too, and I love him. It’s one of the movies that Michael and I watch together. I love a soppy movie.

Best book

I’m not a big reader but my mum bought me a book called How To Talk To Absolutely Anyone just after I won my crown. I was very shy when I first became Miss Northern Ireland but this book tells you how to boost your confidence and overcome your fears of talking to people. Dipping into it throughout the year has really helped me.

My best gift

My dog Max. I always wanted a boxer and when I came home one day, mum told me there was a surprise for me in the garden. He’s my baby and I love him to bits.

My best buy

That has to be my sat nav. As Miss Northern Ireland, you’re constantly travelling all over the place and I would literally be lost without it.

  • Rebekah will be handing over her crown on Monday, May 11 at the Europa Hotel in Belfast

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