AN engineering student from Skelmersdale has been crowned Miss Lancashire.
Jess Gagen will now be representing the county at the Miss England contest on Saturday, June 24 when the entry to Miss World will be chosen.
The 25-year-old, who was scouted for the Miss Lancashire contest in January, said: “I was apprehensive having never taken part in anything similar before, but after 40 days of running 5kms on the bounce in fancy dress and raising more than £1,200 for charity, I’ve ended up winning it and now I’m in line for the Miss England crown.”
Jess went to St James’ Primary in Ashurst and then onto Our Lady Queen of Peace Engineering College in Skelmersdale where she gained 9A/A*’s at GCSE.
While studying she signed to her first modelling agency, and took it full time after she finished her A Levels at Winstanley College.
She added: “I signed contracts for agencies in different countries and worked across the UK, Europe and Middle East for brands including Grazia Magazine, MaxMara, M&S, Tesco, Regatta, ASDA, boohoo.com and Soap and Glory!
“For years I was unsure about my future and believed I’d written off my access to an engineering degree through picking the wrong A Levels aged 16, but this turned out not to be the case at all.
“At 22 I called up lots of different universities, and ended up taking a foundation year in physics, alongside balancing my modelling.”
Jess now models part time while studying for a Masters Degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Liverpool.
She added: “My path hasn’t been the usual one by any means but taking life at my own pace has allowed me to shoot some incredible campaigns and travel the world in my downtime.
“I want to prove to teens that acquiring knowledge is so much more rewarding than conforming to Instagram beauty standards, so I’m campaigning for it.
“My campaign in regards to the contest focused on showing girls the opportunities available to them in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers, something I’m extremely passionate about, and I’m determined to prove to teens that they can do both!”