Aerospace engineering student who was bullied for her ginger hair gets crowned as Miss England 2022
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A student who was mercilessly bullied at school for her flowing ginger locks has become the first redhead ever to win the Miss England crown.
Jessica Gagen, 26, stole the prize from the clutches of 30 other beauty queens at the glamorous event, which was held in Birmingham this week.
The aerospace engineering student will now go on to compete on behalf of England at the Miss World titles.
"Throughout secondary school I was teased for being a redhead," she said.
"I didn’t mention it much during last year’s competition as I’m a big believer in leaving negativity in the past, but with there never having been a red-haired Miss England I feel it’s important to educate people about what redheads face in school and empower kids who are facing the same things I did."
The 26-year-old stunner revealed she was called names, hit, spat at, and had things thrown at her head quite a few times.
"[The worst time] was when a girl burned me for having ginger hair."
But she haas had the last laugh after she was signed to multiple agencies when she turned 18 and modelled on international catwalks.
The Skelmersdale 26-year-old also revealed her ulterior motive for entering in the Miss England pageant: to push for further interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for students.
"For me, by competing in Miss England, my campaign last year and this year is to help people get girls into STEM subjects," she said.
"But after realising there has never been a redhead winner, I looked back and I was thinking there are not that many redheads on TV."
She add-d: "I think it would be so good if there could be somebody in that kind of position who is a redhead. Even last year there wasn't one redhead in Miss World."
The stunning science student is the first redhead to win in Miss England's 94-year history.
Gagen added that while on the stage she strutted her stuff for all the ginger kids out there.
"I thought if I could win this, I could empower kids who are being bullied for the way that they look and the colour of their hair," the British beauty said.
"It is nice to be able to represent the younger kids and say 'I have been through it and you can use that pain to raise your game'. Make it your superpower."