What would it be like to have the honor of being titled face of the year? Can you imagine the excitement of being crowned "beauty Queen" and chosen to represent your country in an upcoming global event? Eep!
Olivia Devyea knows just what that's like! The English sweetheart sat down and chatted with us about real beauty, being a pageant Queen, and what it's like to inspire your peers to chase their dreams.
Crown of Beauty: So first of all tell us Olivia, how did you get involved with the pageant world? Has this always been a dream of yours?
Olivia: Hello!! Well, funnily enough, I entered Face of the Year out of curiosity. A few of my friends have been entering them throughout the past two years and I have always been intrigued.
I wasn’t sure what the truth about pageants was. I saw the application online and I entered spontaneously, without any thought! I hadn’t looked into it at all - I had no idea what to expect. I was selected to participate, but still, I wasn’t sure what was going on. It wasn’t till the night before that I decided to attend - with no dresses or shoes in mind!
Crown of Beauty: You have recently been selected as a grand finalist for Face Of The Globe – an international beauty pageant being held in Disneyland Paris in aid the Rainbow Child Foundation. How exciting! How did you get to this point? What did that process look like?
Olivia: The night before, I decided to go down to Hastings and compete in the Face of The Year Competition, which was also the ‘Launch Party’ for the Face of the Globe international pageant.
I turned up with a small suitcase, rollers in, onesie on, and my prom dress from last year packed in a bag. As I turned up and saw mirrors, irons, suitcases, costume bag, I must admit, I crumbled into a little shell. I heard conversations regarding pageant dress shops, expensive hair extensions, spray tans, professional make-up...What was I doing?! I had no idea about the pageant industry and felt really unprepared.
I bit my tongue and walked into the Azur Pavilion, right on the English Seafront. I was there now, I had to go in. Luckily, the Face of The Globe Team are so friendly and welcomed me right in. I felt so comfortable and they were really lovely and helpful. As the day went on I began to feel more confident and after all, I was only there to experience the pageant industry and have a good time so that is what I intended to do. We spent the day rehearsing and also had a kick boxing class which was great fun - especially for me. Being a ballet dancer I love to keep active and fit and rehearsing is what I do on a daily basis so I felt right at home!
We started to get ready which was also great fun. All the girls sat around gossiping and chatting as we all curled our hair and applied our make-up. I was blessed to have entered such a lovely pageant as my first one as the team and other girls were just so welcoming to me as a newcomer.
The first round was a Face of The Globe T-Shirt and Black Jeans round, followed by a party wear round. The final round was Formal Evening Wear, which I wore my School Leavers Prom Dress for. It wasn't the most spectacular dress but for me, I felt comfortable which allowed me to be confident.
I firstly won the award of Miss Publicity, for raising awareness about the competition which I was shocked about as I had only entered a few weeks before! I thought ‘WOW, I’ve actually won something’ and thought that would be the highlight of my evening. I was then called up as a finalist which entitled me to introduce myself on stage and tell the judges and the audience a little bit about myself.
I was then called out as the winner.
I was ecstatic - I burst into tears!
I was over the moon. Being titled Face of The Year means that I won my trip to Disneyland Paris and I am representing England in Face of The Globe 2013.
Crown of Beauty: What are you most excited about and looking forward to about the grand event at Disneyland Paris?
Olivia: I am most excited about getting into my hotel room, settling in, unpacking and getting ready for the Finals! It’ll be like a holiday!
I’m also excited about the events we have on during our time at Disney. We have a few days in which we’re able to visit the park with the other girls and we get to see the Wild West Show and meet all the Disney characters. I can’t wait!!
Crown of Beauty Magazine: Tell us about the positive side of beauty pageants. Is there a positive side? Or is it all just a big, crazy competition to be the most beautiful?
Olivia: This is one of the reasons I entered Face of The Globe; to see if there was a positive side because there must have been a reason why so many girls enter them if there wasn’t! and my answer is YES YES YES.
Being part of Face of The Globe has been the best experience. It has boosted my confidence so much. Especially being knocked back quite a lot with dancing, it was nice to have the confidence boost. It has also enabled me to make great friends. I have moved schools quite a bit and found it hard to keep close-by stable friendships but the girls that are involved in Pageants; we’re all like a family. I see them like my sisters and I see the Face of The Globe team like mother figures. They are always there for you, no matter your problem and it’s just lovely to have such a close bond with people who have similar interests.
Face of The Globe isn’t all about beauty. They also have the Miss Charity award, which goes to the girl who raises the most money for their supporting charity, Rainbow Child Foundation. I wouldn’t say beauty is the biggest competition. I think it is a range of things that include confidence, commitment, charity-work and personality, without any of these traits, it would be very hard to be a beauty queen!
Crown of Beauty: Okay girl, it's honesty time. Do you ever struggle with feeling beautiful? As a stunning girl who has accomplished so much, it's easy to look at you and think, "Wow, she is so perfect." Do you ever have an off day? And if you feel like that, what do you do about it?
Do I ever have an off day!? Most days are ‘Off Days’ for me! I don’t go out that often so it is lovely to be able to dress up for pageant events. Most days, I spend in a leotard and tights, hair scraped back and stuck in a dance studio! It is so lovely to be able to dress up and get ready for a big event.
I do have down days, every one does. Some days I wake up and all I want to do is lie in bed, watching films and eating chocolate. So I do! I love spending my time with my family the most, so most evenings do consist of snuggles with my family in front of the TV and a lovely big dinner!
I have had to deal with some very hard personal struggles over the past few years and I still struggle now. It’s tough being a "beauty queen" as many people just see you smiling and enjoying yourself, thinking that you are living a perfect life, when really, there is a lot going on under the smile and tiara, but it’s what you have to do. You have to put on a brave, confident smile and act as though everything is fine.
Funnily enough, sometimes the best thing to do when you're feeling horrible, is to dress up and go out!
Crown of Beauty: How do you feel about wearing makeup? Would you advise your little sisters to wear makeup, and if so what would be a good age to start?
Olivia: This is a tough question. It depends on what ‘type’ of make-up.
I will admit, I started to wear mascara younger than most people, just because although my eyelashes are very, very long, they are very light so I wanted to enhance them. My mum has always been an expert with her make-up so from a young age, I saw how to apply make-up carefully.
I wouldn’t advise my younger sisters into foundation, eye shadow, or anything ‘colorful’ as not only will it ruin your skin, you beautiful young ladies do not need it!!!! I do not wear foundation and I never have done; only for a dance show or competition.
A little bit of tinted moisturizer if I’m looking tired but apart from that - bronzer is the only thing that goes on my face! For me, it’s all about the eyes.
Even now I go to the shops without make-up! The earlier you put it on, the earlier you will get bored of it. I LOVE having make-up free days!
I am quite lucky though, as I wear contact lenses every-day, the days I want to go make-up free - I can hide behind my glasses!
I also think natural make-up looks better!
Crown of Beauty: Another really important topic is skin care! What do you do to take care of your skin? Any tips or tricks for us girls?
As I mentioned, no foundation! I am lucky that I have an Indian heritage so my skin is naturally tanned and young looking. I have also never had any skin-related problems.
My secret is daily moisturizing, not too much make-up and cleaning before bed. However, I do believe that OVER cleaning your face can in fact have a negative effect and scrub away all the goodness.
Crown of Beauty: Another side of beauty, one that is rarely discussed, is the importance of having a healthy body and mind. So often there is a great importance placed on just looking pretty, but what about being healthy? What do you do to stay healthy?
Olivia: Luckily, I am training to be a dancer so everyday I am kept fit by daily ballet classes alongside jazz, contemporary, pilates and conditioning. Keeping active is a main attribute to a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be an hour session in a gym or a run, but even a walk outside in the fresh air can do a world of good to not only your body, but also your mind.
I find it hard to stay fit and active when I have time off from dancing in holidays, but a daily walk and a healthy diet is all I need. And when I say healthy diet I mean a little bit of everything. Healthy eating can often be mis-understood as under-eating or denying yourself, which is wrong! A little bit of everything is needed for your body to function properly. There is no point being denying yourself anything but I always make sure I am getting all the nutrients I need to feel good, happy and for my skin to glow. Luckily I am huge lover of fruit and vegetables!!!
It’s not only your body that healthy eating and exercise works wonders for, but after a week of eating well and keeping fit, I feel amazing. I have so much energy and am the happiest girl ever!
Crown of Beauty: This journey that you've been on has given you such a huge platform, in what ways do you inspire to encourage girls? What are the messages you want to send to this generation?
Olivia: I started dancing ‘professionally’ (e.g vocational dance training) quite late at the age of 16 at a semi-professional dance college, I then had a bit of a rough year, and it now at the age of 19 that I am starting at a professional ballet school.
Most girls start at ballet school from the age of 9 or again at 16. It has been tough, sometimes I have thought ‘I am too old’, ‘Why would they want me?’, ‘It’s too late’ but I actually gained a scholarship to study at the Northern Ballet School, despite being 19, so my main message is "IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAM!"
It is the same for Pageants. I thought it would be silly to enter, all the girls have been doing it for years and that I would not have any experience but I am now representing England at a International Pageant after having only done one competition.
Please don’t listen to anyone who tells you it’s too late or that you are not good enough. If that is what you want to do, then do it. If you EVER have that deep feeling of not wanting to do something. Don't.
Don't worry about what other people want you to do; worried about what they might say. Worried you may have let them down. Worried it's not the best thing. Do exactly as you want. It's your life.
Crown of Beauty: What are some of the fun perks, or opportunities that you've been given on your journey? Has this enabled you to travel? Tell us about your favorite travels or fun memories!
Olivia: I’ve been able to meet such great people!!! I have been to many events and it also enabled me to be chosen to judge Miss Great Britain’s Greater London Heat. The thing I love the most is the opportunity to dress-up and attend events and make appearances.
I also love being able to work closely with a dress company named Charmyn Jarmyn, who is sponsoring me throughout my competition. It gives me such a great insight into the dress side of pageants and the business side of pageants, although, Charmyn Jarmyn also supplies for weddings, parties, proms.. you name it!
And of course, I get to travel to Paris!!! I would love to answer this question.. but I think I want to save it from when I can tell you all about my trip to Paris with the team! ;)
Crown of Beauty: Great! We can't wait to hear all about it when your revisit the mag. :)
Olivia: My family and I love to travel and we have been all over the world on our holidays including America (Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, New York and San Francisco), Canada, France, Spain, Italy and Austria.
Crown of Beauty: How have your friends and peers reacted to your lifestyle and success? Have they been jealous, or super supportive?
It has been tough. Like I mentioned, people just see you smiling, being overly confident and enjoying yourself. You have to promote the pageant and your title, but when people don’t fully understand the pageant world, often I think this can come across as ‘bragging’ or ‘showing off’ thinking that you are living a perfect life. When really, you are just doing your best for you title and for the charity that the pageant is supporting. You have to put on a brave, confident smile even if it isn’t all positive.
And of course, when you and your title is publicized so much, often people assume that this is all you do. They don’t get to see the ‘backstage’ of your life as your ‘show’ is so over publicized.
Crown of Beauty: How much of a role has your family played in this entire process?
Olivia: The biggest role! There isn’t a day that goes by that I look at dresses without my mum being at my side.
When I entered Face of The Year spontaneously, I obviously had no-one planning to come and support as I hadn’t told anyone about it! I was also very embarrassed as I wasn’t too sure what I was doing. My mum drove me down there, and then when she saw how nervous I had got, she went all the way home, got changed, and came all the way back down to watch the competition. When I won, she was the only one in the whole audience supporting me from my friends and family and to see her once they called my name out was all that mattered. My mum, dad and brother have always been supportive of my dancing and now my pageants. They aren’t pushy. They will never make me do something I don’t want to and wouldn’t even suggest I do anything that I might not want to, but they will always support me in what I want to do. I am really close to my family and wouldn’t have done any of the stuff I have without their support. I owe them everything and they truly have been the best.
Crown of Beauty: Picture yourself ten years from now. Where do you want to be?
Ooooooo... I would like to have won a BIG beauty pageant, have danced professionally, should it be in lots of different projects, or in a company, been to many lovely countries, opened up a private dance school, have my own successful business teaching dance, have a lovely big house in the countryside, be settled down with an amazing man (maybe one day! I’ve been single for 4 years!) and hopefully planning a family. Is that too much to ask?! hehehe.
And finally, (we ask everyone this question!) who is your favorite Disney Princess and why?
Ohhhhhhhhhh!!!! Belle has got to be my favourite!!!
My favourite Disney movie was Beauty and the Beast because I believed that, despite being 4, I looked like Belle. I wanted to be her! I had all her costumes and every dress-up day at school, I went as Belle... even on book day! I also loved how she accepted the Beast for who he was and thought that she was a very king and caring character who I aspired to be like. I was lucky enough to meet Belle in Disneyland California where my parents told me it was the actual, real Belle.. but then I went to Disneyland Paris and that is where things got very confusing. =/
Crown of Beauty: Olivia, thank you so much for chatting with us! It has been a pleasure. We can't wait to hear all about your adventures in Disneyland Paris in October!