Girl who caught One Direction star's eye crowned Miss Ulster
The newly crowned Miss Ulster is getting used to controversy.
Not only has she just won the beauty pageant that has drawn negative attention for limiting entrants to women aged 18-24, size 8-12 and at least 5ft 7in, but her life was turned upside down earlier this year when boyband heartthrob Harry Styles took a liking to her.
In her first media interview, Shaniece Nesbitt (18), from south Belfast, spoke for the first time about being the girl that caught the eye of the “lovely” One Direction star when he was gigging in Belfast — and why she has been surprised by the negativity surrounding the Miss Ulster final.
Following the crowning ceremony at Titanic Belfast on Saturday night, Shaniece — who has been likened to Hollywood beauty Megan Fox — said she was shocked to be named the winner.
“I had never walked on a catwalk before the competition,” she said.
“I’m so excited. Everyone was treated exceptionally by the Miss Ulster team. If other girls are thinking of entering next year I would say absolutely do it, even for the experience, the personal satisfaction, the confidence boost, the outfits. Everything about it has been so nice — I’ve loved it.”
The Belfast Metropolitan College A-level student and Hollister retail assistant has had a whirlwind four months.
Back in May she was targeted online by One Direction fans after Styles spotted her in the crowd at the Odyssey Arena and invited her to the Culloden Hotel.
Shaniece was then bombarded with questions, comments and even death threats by some crazed fans after it was reported she was his new girlfriend.
But Shaniece, whose Twitter account, @ShanieceNesbitt, grew from 400 followers to 13,000 at the time, insists nothing went on between the pair.
“There was 10 people there, including my friend Matthew.
“There were lots of rumours, like I had passed out. I hadn’t even been drinking. I had my driving test the next day at 10am so I only stayed for a couple of hours.
“I thought it would all die down
in a week, but the last few months have been crazy.
“He was lovely, really down-to-earth. I was surprised. I expected him to be a bit of a diva, but it was just like talking to a friend.”
In the months to come Shaniece will be concentrating on her studies and making the most of the opportunities being Miss Ulster brings, including taking part in Miss Ireland Universe.
“I want to get at least three Bs in my exams and hopefully MIss Ulster will take me further and good things will happen,” she said.
“I would love to pursue modelling as a career.”
Shaniece said she didn’t feel exploited by taking part in a beauty pageant and was surprised by the huge debate this year’s competition generated.
“I knew a modelling contract with Style Academy was one of the prizes and there is certain criteria you have to fit to become a model, so it’s only reasonable if you’re going to win it you have to fit the criteria.
“But I do think if the competition criteria was to change to a really broad range it would be very good. I definitely feel everyone deserves to enter if they want.”
Shaniece Nesbitt from south Belfast is Miss Ulster 2013. As well as the title, she has won thousands of pounds worth of prizes, including a trip to New York with American Holidays, a holiday to Mallorca with Jet2holidays, clothes from CastleCourt and the Kennedy Centre, haircare from Zuni, LA Tan and Senna Cosmetics. She has a modelling contract with The Style Academy and will be an IN! Magazine cover star. She will also represent Ulster at Miss Ireland Universe in Dublin.