'I feel it’s important to educate people about what redheads face in school and empower kids who are facing the same things I did.'
The results of Miss England 2022 beauty pageant are in and the crown went to the first-ever redhead woman. Jessica Gagen won the honor among 30 beauty queens from all over the country and in the process made history. The 26-year-old is an aerospace engineering student who won the honor at the pageant held in Birmingham, England. She has become an inspiration for many others due to the struggles she faced while growing up, reports Manchester Evening News.
Gagen previously revealed that she faced extensive bullying at school due to her copper-toned hair. Bullies at school would punch, spit on and even burn her leaving deep emotional scars. However, she has now silenced everyone who attacked her self-esteem for being a little different. She said, "Throughout secondary school, I was teased for being a redhead."
Gagen added, "I didn’t mention it much during last year’s competition as I’m a big believer in leaving negativity in the past, but with there never having been a red-haired Miss England. I feel it’s important to educate people about what redheads face in school and empower kids who are facing the same things I did." She explained that she faced "name-calling" every single day in school.
She thought that the kids weren't being "malicious" and tried to ignore but she was, "hit, spat at and had things thrown at my head quite a few times." She added, "worst was when a girl burned me for having ginger hair." She resorted to hiding to escape her bullies as she often felt secluded and targeted. "In Year 7 I used to eat my lunch in the school toilets because on the occasions I’d try to sit with some of the girls they’d stand up and leave me by myself," she said. "I used to get really upset about it all, but I’m determined to show kids who are facing the same thing that it won’t happen forever."
Apart from proving herself she also has a second motive for competing in these campaigns. Gagen emphasized it by saying, "There has never been a redhead win the title before. For me, by competing in Miss England, my campaign last year and this year is to help people get girls into STEM subjects. But after realizing there has never been a redhead winner, I looked back and I was thinking there are not many that redheads on TV."
She noted that even in the last year's competition there wasn't any redhead in the Miss World pageant. However, this year she will be going to compete in the campaign and represent England.
"I thought if I could win this, I could empower kids who being bullied for the way that they look and the color of their hair. I'm the only redhead in family so I'd always been looking for somebody who kind of understood the bullying through school," she added. "It is nice to be able to represent the younger kids and say 'I have been through it and you can use that pain to raise your game'. Make it your superpower."