Ballynure teenager Jessica-Sophia Parkinson is on her way to becoming the Face of Northern Ireland.
Seventeen-year-old Jessica-Sophia, from Riverside Cottages, has reached the final of the teen category of the competition after impressing judges during an interview at the Downshire Arms Hotel in Banbridge.
If successful in the next round, Jessica-Sophia will proceed to Disneyland, Paris, where she could become The Face of Europe.
Mum Brenda explained that she was approached by competition organisers after Jessica-Sophia’s photograph was spotted on her Facebook page.
After deciding to take part, Jessica-Sophia submitted a picture and profile of herself.
Mrs. Parkinson said that her daughter will now take part in the “white dress” round of the final which will take place at the Canal Court, in Newry, on August 21.
“They are looking for someone natural and who can be themselves. It is not just about looks. They are looking for the complete package,” she noted.
Mrs. Parkinson went on say that her daughter will also be required to fund-raise for a nominated charity and is hoping for the support of the local community.
She added that Jessica-Sophia, a past pupil of Glengormley High School, now employed at Tesco, Northcott, is “very excited” about the competition and was delighted to collect her tiara recently.
Jessica-Sophia’s participation in the competition follows earlier modelling experience with the Make-Up Boudoir in Belfast and she is preparing for a catwalk show in Cafe Vaudeville in the city.
Brenda added: “Jessica-Sophia is hoping for the support of the local community. She is very excited about the competition. She is always very well presented and it is great to see her confidence growing as a result.”
The organisers of “The Face of Northern Ireland” competition say that the pageant offers contestants the opportunity to break into the modelling industry with many photographic opportunities to create a portfolio and “the chance to gain tips and confidence on the runway”.
A spokesperson said: “Our aim within The Face of Northern Ireland is to provide an exciting, confidence boosting, positive experience for all the girls who make it through as a grand finalist.”
The winners will go on to represent Northern Ireland at The Face of Europe contest in November.
The competition is open to females of all shapes and sizes who are aged between five and 30 years. Described as a “beauty pageant with a cause”, The Face of Northern Ireland raised the sum of £12,000 last year for the Headway East Kent and Rainbow Child Foundation charities.
The Headway charity, the brain injury association, which also has a branch in Newry, is also expected to benefit this year.