Waterford's Katie Keogh has made the final of Miss Universe Ireland 2020
A Kilmeaden woman feels proud to be representing Waterford and the South East at the final of Miss Universe Ireland 2020.
The only finalist from the South East, Waterford College of Further Education Hairdressing student Katie Keogh has made the final 12 in this year’s beauty pageant.
By taking part in the contest, she hopes to put Waterford on the map, generating awareness about the county’s great people and businesses.
The 19-year-old is also using the Miss Universe Ireland platform to highlight other issues she feels passionate about including gender inequality and bullying on social media.
“Ireland is a beautiful and diverse country but still has room to grow and change. There is still a lack of gender equality, which has been highlighted not only through statistics in regards to equal pay and opportunities but also most recently in sport,” Katie says.
“I am also passionate about emphasising the need to tackle the increase in bullying which has now escalated through social media. 2020 has proved to have brought us so much hardship with this global pandemic, however, we are all coming together to fight against this one cause. I don’t see why we cannot also come together to end the man-made creation which is bullying,” the 19-year-old Waterford woman says.
In addition, Katie is highlighting the work of ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home. “ALONE provides housing with support, support coordination, befriending and it campaigns for change for older people every week who are homeless, socially isolated, living in deprivation or in crisis. ALONE has become vital during this pandemic for providing assistance and care for people who may have felt isolated and vulnerable. I know a lot of people, as well as myself, can understand the importance of caring for the elderly in a time of such vulnerability,” she says.
Fashion brand dream
Katie’s dreams of setting up her own ethical clothing brand, which will see proceeds being donated to charities and organisations that need funding to survive. “I have really found myself and my passion through clothing and fashion design, so this is truly the path I wish to venture into. Fashion has become a part of my personality and has given me the confidence to get to where I am today and hopefully it will get me even further,” she says.
Vote for Katie
There is a people's choice element to Miss Universe Ireland 2020, which gives the public the opportunity to vote for their favourite contestant. Katie acknowledges the stigma and stereotype surrounding pageants, but says Miss Universe Ireland empowers women to become passionate activists and to become engaged in some of the worlds most important issues.
"Empowering women is about education and making them feel good about themselves so that they can believe that they can achieve anything,” a passionate Katie says.
"Becoming Miss Universe Ireland is not only a dream of mine, it’s a title that requires responsibility and an ethos, which I would be proud to be entrusted with. I am grateful for all the support I have been given so far in the competition and it is something that I truly do not take for granted. I am thankful for every opportunity that I have been given, and this is something I thought I could have only imagined. This is truly an amazing experience, and I am not going to waste it,” the Waterford woman adds.