IT IS the cringe-worthy cliché beloved of beauty pageants – the model who has nothing else to wish for than world peace.
Thankfully Craigentinny’s Sarah Elizabeth Mills won’t need to resort to any banal answers when she takes to the stage later this year as the “Face of Edinburgh”.
The 18-year-old, whose first serious foray into modelling has already been beyond her wildest dreams, will be talking about her work with Leith women’s charity Sikh Sanjog.
The charity, which was set up in 1989, provides support to women in the Sikh community who have been settling in Edinburgh since the 1950s.
Sarah – a former Leith Academy student – has been working for the organisation for the past four months as a receptionist and youth worker. The stint started before she applied for the ModelScotland competition.
She said: “When I left school I volunteered with different projects working with vulnerable children.
“I was looking for a job and I found an opportunity with Sikh Sanjog, which helps ethnic minority women who might be facing cultural barriers and gives them opportunities they might not otherwise have along with emotional and employment support.”
Sarah only starting trying to break into modelling a year ago.
“It’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do, but I’ve never really had the confidence for,” she said.
“One day I thought, ‘why not?’ I’ve been helping for free to be a model for photographers for the past year now, just building up a portfolio. I found out about the pageant opportunity and it’s like I’ve completely jumped a step.”
An interview in Glasgow with ModelScotland quickly led to a call back, with Sarah’s charity work helping win over the selection panel. She will be officially crowned at a ceremony at Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza Hotel on July 26.
A live pageant will follow in September where Sarah will be up against 19 other contestants, with each entrant judged on categories ranging from evening wear to personality.
The winner will represent the country at a Disneyland Paris pageant in November.
Sarah has been taking tips on presentation and answering questions from her eldest sister, who works as a Strathclyde police officer.
She added: “I am nervous – I’m not going to lie about that – but it’ll be fun.”