The soldier dubbed “Combat Barbie” after being crowned Miss England has revealed how she planned to join comrades on the frontline in Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Katrina Hodge, who was drafted in to compete in the Miss World contest after Rachel Christie relinquished her title following her arrest over an alleged nightclub brawl, added: “People just do not appreciate the army enough.”
The 22-year-old soldier has already served in Iraq but said she was hoping to join the effort in Afghanistan after stepping down as Miss England in July next year.
“It is something I want to do,” she added.
L/Cpl Hodge said she thought of “everybody involved” after marking Remembrance Sunday with two minutes' silence alongside some of the 119 other contestants vying to become Miss World.
L/Cpl Hodge, whose parents live in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, added: “We are taught in training that we are first and foremost a soldier. When I am a soldier I have my hair scraped back and no make-up. I hope it bodes well that I am seen as a more natural beauty. Me having one day to get ready for this role shows that.”
She said her comrades were delighted for her, adding: “They all love it and think it's fantastic.”
She added: “It's been an absolute whirlwind — in 24 hours my life has changed. It's been weird, but fantastic weird because I really want this opportunity.”
L/Cpl Hodge added that she had been due to be sent out to Afghanistan before she was crowned Miss England.
She was previously given an award by her unit in the Royal Anglian Regiment for her actions during a posting in Basra.
She said she would be ready when called upon, adding: “I am not leaving the army. I will still be going to work — I have just got promoted.”
She said she hoped her title as Miss England would help raise funds for various military charities, including Help for Heroes.
L/Cpl Hodge, who was first runner-up in the 2009 national contest, was promoted after Miss Christie (21) stepped down, a statement from Miss England organisers said.
L/Cpl Hodge was given five weeks' leave from her duties to represent England in the Miss World Final in Johannesburg, South Africa, on December 12.
Miss Christie became involved in a dispute with another beauty queen, Miss Manchester, aka Sara Beverley Jones, at a Manchester nightclub earlier this week.
Miss Jones (24) was allegedly punched in the face after arguing about Tornado, a Gladiator who appears in the Sky1 series and whose real name is David McIntosh.