A Biggin Hill resident is set to compete on the global stage after being crowned national winner of a prestigious beauty pageant.

Grace Smithen was crowned Miss Elegance of the World UK 2021 and will now go on to represent the UK at Miss Global United States next year in Florida.

The international competition was held virtually this year where Grace was announced as the UK winner.

She said: “I couldn’t believe it when my name was announced, I was so happy I couldn’t stop crying”.

But despite her success, she has not forgotten her roots – even drawing inspiration from the area she grew up in to help design one of her dresses for the competition.

The design included several London landmarks, but referenced Biggin Hill’s historic role in the Second World War as a major RAF base, which Grace was also able to discuss in her interview as part of the competition.

Grace Smithen in the dress she designed

Grace Smithen in the dress she designed

Having previously raised funds and helped with organising charity events and raffles, including for the RNLI and Macmillan, Grace selected Cancer Research UK as her main charity for the competition – raising over £3,000 over the past year and a half.

Since graduating with a degree in Dance, Grace has had a successful career within her industry and currently works for Haven as a Cast Dancer.

She believes it is important to support the arts and, pre-covid, had visited many local dance schools.

One of Grace’s visits was to Little Stars Dance School in Bromley where she met the students and held a Q&A session about the dance industry offering advice.

She also became involved within the local community, visiting local groups such as the Girl Guides.

Grace will also be a judge at next years Miss Elegance of the World competition and will crown the next UK winner.

You can follow her journey on the competition’s website here.