Three young women from Donegal are aspiring to be the next Miss Universe Ireland after being selected as finalists in the 2018 pageant.
Niamh Frain from Letterkenny, Emma Roarty from Dunlewey and Grainne Gallanagh from Buncrana have been announced in the Top 30 finalists for the summer contest.
They will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of previous winners Roz Purcell, Joanna Cooper and Cailín Toíbín, who have built successful modelling careers from representing Ireland internationally.
The Ireland selection final takes place on August 2nd, where the winner earns the MUI crown and prizes worth €40,000.
Grainne Gallanagh is no stranger to wearing a pageant sash and crown. The London-based nurse is a former Miss Donegal 2016 and Miss Earth NI contestant.
Grainne talked of her love of pageants with Donegal Woman, saying “Taking part in pageants gives you a lovely sense of achievement. You feel proud of yourself that you did it. I’m always glad to take part and meet new people. Thinking back on all the things I’ve done in past pageants has been great and I loved working with charities.”
The MUI contest focuses on advocacy, encouraging participants to be outspoken about the topical issues they are most passionate about.
Grainne’s work in a women’s health clinic has motivated her to base her campaign on female healthcare and empowerment.
Emma Roarty is also looking forward to using the campaign as an opportunity to express her views.
“I think it’s a good platform to voice your opinion and views on certain things,” said the Journalism and Irish graduate. Emma has a keen interest in supporting mental health charities and believes that awareness is an important step.
Emma has just recently returned home to Donegal after travelling around Australia. After being selected at an open audition in Dublin last month, she is looking forward to the lead-up to the August final.
Letterkenny-based Makeup Artist Niamh has a number of topics she is looking forward to promoting in the campaign.
The IADT Character MakeUp Design graduate sees the pageant as an outlet for ‘equality, confidence and empowering women’.
Niamh will be advocating for children’s care, as she herself is a foster sister. She said: “My family cared for foster children all the time, so this and the ISPCC are things that I hold very close to my heart.
“I love kids and I think that it’s so important that kids are loved without limits in order for them to grow up in the best way possible. We loved all kids like they were our own and that has taught me invaluable lessons.
“Having kids in our home was us doing our part for children’s welfare. I’d love to get involved with caring for kids more now,” Niamh said.
Another relevant topic Niamh will bring into her campaign is women’s welfare. Following the passing of the abortion referendum, Niamh, her mother Bernie – an experienced local midwife, and other local women are planning to set up a support group for women in crisis pregnancies.
“So many great women are already involved in this and I think Miss Universe Ireland will be a great time to talk about our plans,” Niamh said.
For the next month, the finalists will all be taking part in photo shoots, live panel discussions and events, all in the hope of sharing their confidence and ability to wear the 2018 Miss Universe Ireland crown.