Meet the Young European International Queens - a YEMI Teen London takeover


Hello and welcome to the first blog takeover on 'The World Through Kat's Eyes'. I am Mya, known to many as 'Small Child' but here in Pageant Land, I am your Young European International Teen London.

Today Marks 100 days till the 11th of November where I, along with a group of young women will strap on our Tippy Tops and strut the stage for the chance of winning one of 5 'Young European International' crowns. YEMI is in it's third year, with its finals in Dudley, Birmingham. The 5 winners will then jet off to Texas in June 2019 to compete in 'Young Miss International' with the hopes of bringing back a YMI crown.

I have had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the reigning YEMI queens, giving us the opportunity to get to know them a little bit better. As well as the queens, I also got to interview both the YEMI Director, Jeyanne and the YAMI director, Sabrina.

First up I have Mia, the first Young European International Junior Miss, who was also the first Junior Miss from the UK - at the age of 9 she brought home an international title 'Young American Miss International Supreme Congeniality'

What are you proudest of doing in your reign(s)?
I am most proud of organising the collection of lots of goodies for all the kitties at the Cat's Protection, I even had some donations all the way from Mississippi! It also got me nominated for a trailblazer award at the YAMI finals in Texas for my hard work!

The YAMI/YEMI motto is 'aspire to inspire'; who has inspired you the most in your pageant journey?
All of my big sister queens & director Jeyanne have inspired me to work hard &
give it my best shot at everything I do. They have all supported me in my charity work & given me lots of helpful tips & advice for on stage! Then in Texas meeting my director Miss Sabrina & all my sash sisters from across the US inspired me even more to keep trying hard & being the best me I can be!

What is your must have item for pageant day?
On pageant day my must have item is SNACKS! Everyone who knows me knows I like to eat all the time, so I always have a mini backpack filled with dairy free goodies to keep me going through the pageant day!

Any advice for this year's contestants?
My advice for all the YEMI girls this year is to make sure you smile, sparkle & have lots of fun! The finals goes past so quickly so just make sure you give it your best shot & enjoy every minute of it, you will make lots of new friends that way & tje judges like to see people having fun!

What was the most exciting part of competing internationally?
The most exciting part about competing at YAMI in Texas was...EVERYTHING! I got to spend a whole week with my big sister queens & Jeyanne & we went have a pedicure & I had my make up done. I made tons & tons of new friends who I now have as  penpals & of course I got to wear super sparkly outfits & go on stage.

Next up is Macie; your Teen Queen. After winning the title of 'Young European Miss Teen International' the Welsh Born brought home the International title 'Young American Miss Teen International'

What are you proudest of doing in your reign(s)?
My proudest moment during my reign as your Young European International Teen Miss was the crowns and gowns walk in aid of the Ronald McDonald house.

The YAMI/YEMI motto is 'aspire to inspire'; who has inspired you the most in your pageant journey?
The pageant motto aspire to inspire is something in which I’m am able to treasure as an ethos, it has told me to never give up and always be confident. The person who’s inspired me the most on my pageant journey is my biggest fan my Pageant Nan, (Lea-Anne) She inspires me every day and always tells me to never give up or let the crown slip because as of the day you are crowned whether you’re in your crown and sash or PJs you should always act accordingly and try your hardest to represent the system to the best of your ability.

What is your must have item for pageant day?
My must have pageant item is hairspray! I mean what can you do without it? If it weren’t for hairspray I wouldn’t have my big bouncy curls which I fall in love with each time, no matter how many times I have them.

Any advice for this year's contestants?
The best piece of advice I can give to this year’s contestants is always have fun and enjoy yourself because that will make your personality shine on and off stage and you never know who’s watching and when!

What was the most exciting part of competing internationally?
The most exciting part about competing internationally was the “all glitters gold party” this was a party which allowed us to let our hair down after the competition and dance all night! We had dance offs, raffles and extra crowing moments! Everyone had a ball and it was the most perfect party to end the most amazing competition of the year! It makes me super excited for next year!
Next is Miss Atlanta McBride. She competed in YEMI two years in a row, bagging the 2016 Beauty before representing West Yorkshire and becoming your 'Young European Miss International'. The hard work seemed to pay off for Atlanta and her sass on stage also saw her bring home the 'Young American Miss International' title.

What are you proudest of doing in your reign(s)?
Coming from the North of England, I live in a very rural environment in the Yorkshire dales. Yorkshire is well known for its friendly and tight knit community with everybody knowing everyone! I owe my community so much that I can’t quite put it into words, without their support from sponsoring me, to allowing me to hold various charity events my pageant journey would lack some of the best experiences I’ve had. Being awarded the charity gala queen for my community involvement is one of my most prized moments to date. I am so pleased the pageant motto is “aspire to inspire” and that we are judged on our giving and commitment over our exterior beauty. Inner beauty to me has always been the most important aspect of competing and I am glad I found this system as many lacks the ambition to achieve more and get everyone out there and make memories that will last a life time. Community work will always be important to me, so being award my home towns Gala Queen for my hard work in the community whilst being YEMI West Yorkshire, is my proudest moment. Here’s to more memories with my Young American Miss International title.

The YAMI/YEMI motto is 'aspire to inspire'; who has inspired you the most in your pageant journey?
I often get asked who my biggest role model is and why. In pageants it’s often the norm to have that one queen or performer who inspired you to get up on stage and show the world what you’ve got, but I am quite the opposite. In my first ever pageant interview I was asked, “who is your biggest role model, and why?” I believe people are role models for a reason. They’re unique. The main reason any one is a role model is because of what they’ve achieved through multiple platforms. If everyone strived to be that person we would never be a role model ourselves just a mere mirage of someone else footsteps we follow in. To truly be a role model you must break the boundaries and become someone people notice.  The meaning of a role model is, ‘a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated’. I do not aim to imitate, I aim to become a role model, a leader and to set an example not to be a follower of someone who took the courage to go out there and become something. I strive to be a role model by being totally unique and following my own ideas and concepts not only whilst being a title holder but in my everyday life. I have a full-time job whilst being in education and buying my first house and mixing in my pageant life. I give up my time and weekends for others and to be a better me rather than focusing in the chaos of my life, I focus on how lucky I am to have my life compared to those who have nothing and how I can make help. It is important to me to be someone who makes a difference that people can take example from as I pride myself on my community and work ethic. YEMI/YAMI’s ethos is the main reason I joined the system, as it is a platform for me to flourish and showcase my skills to the younger generation and to set an example for people to look up to and say, she Is my role model!

What is your must have item for pageant day?
My must have item would have to be my phone! Even though I love living in the moment I have watched the Young American International Miss pageants live stream every day since I came home! I am enjoying seeing my strengths and weaknesses - a must have for learning in pageants!  When I was in Texas I got to know so many wonderful people who I wanted to have on my social media straight away to connect with and share memories! I took so many photos that my storage warning was permanently on my screen and it was too hard to delete anything, as I loved the moments I had captured. Although having my phone on me is a must have at the best moments, it is always a must have at the harder times, to speak to family members when the self-doubt kicks in before going on stage, or to speak to people about how the pageant is going, I love connecting with people so my phone is my must have for the fun, the best and the difficult times.

Any advice for this year's contestants?
My advice to this year’s contestants is that being a title holder is BIG responsibility as well as their own representation of themselves. Having a title and a platform puts you in a place of power and in the public eye, so the way in which you represent yourself and your system is a huge responsibility. Having a title is a full-time role, the way in which you conduct yourself can affect you and those around you. Setting an example for years to come is something all title holders should do. You should aim to make a positive change or act/movement that will be remembered for years to come that inspired people, after all we all have our own personal favourite title holder that have achieved and inspired us to do more. Being committed to a title is a responsibility that must be up kept with professionalism; the way in which you interact with people offline and online is also very important as well, you must stay true to yourself but stand back from the negativity that comes forward on social media, see your online profile as your personal CV. When thinking of your title as a job you change the way in which you present yourself and your mannerisms which is vital when doing your system justice. I believe that when being a title holder you hold the responsibility of aspiring people that they can be anything and do anything they want to be and do. I would aim to break stereotypes that women and young adults have placed on them. Being a title holder means you are also a motivator and role model, something I hope all our constants aim to do and conduct themselves on.

What was the most exciting part of competing internationally?
Having competed internationally in China and America before I already knew the feeling of pressure and overwhelming excitement when competing Internationally. This was my first time visiting Texas and what better place to go other than the capital, Houston. Outside of the competition days were fun filled action packed hours spent with my sister queens, or as I like to refer to us, “The Dream Team”. Not only because are they the BEST group of pageant girls I have ever had the company of being with, but because we were all there with the same goals the same aspirations and the same dream and we worked as a team from the get go! I think our favourite YEMI crowning moment was my sister queen, Hannah fixings Dawn’s crowning making sure they were straight for the photos and make sure our memories were caught without any flaws. I shared a connecting room with the funniest and out going people we all showed compassion shared secrets and it had a “slumber party effect” on our mood, the laughter never stopped, even now we still talk every day and reminisce. My favourite part of competing internationally was the bonds I have made and the most exciting is knowing in just 4 months’ time I can see them all again and pick up where we left off with all the girls and our new queens, knowing I can crown the next girl gives me such a sense of joy and pride, I’ve worked my title to the bets of my ability and I can’t wait to be the one to give another girl this feeling.

The next fabulous queen is Hannah Golding. Hannah won The title of 'Young European Ms International' in her 2nd year of competing, she also did this while pregnant with her beautiful daughter; Penelope - who within her first month of being born won Baby Miss International. Hannah Competed in YAMI this June, taking 2nd Runner Up to the title.

What are you proudest of doing in your reign(s)?
I have many moments that I am proud of during my reign, of course winning the pageant whilst I was 5 months pregnant and then going to America 8 weeks after having a traumatic birth to compete internationally is always going to be a high point in my pageantry reign. Bringing Penelope into the world was an amazing achievement and she gets to share the journey with me, from being my bump whilst I helped a massive nationwide collection for the homeless, travelling to various events throughout my reign but most recently being able to become a baby patron of my Patron charity, The Beni Bear Club who finally have their charity number!

The YAMI/YEMI motto is 'aspire to inspire'; who has inspired you the most in your pageant journey?
I love the motto Aspire to Inspire because it is very fitting to a lot of people's pageant journeys. Through running my own pageant page of Sparkles and Rhinestones, I have heard so many inspiring stories from across the UK and it has really inspired me to be the best I can be. I don't have a rolemodel as I believe that my fellow pageant sisters insire me, give me strength and make me so proud of everything they have achieved! YAMI and YEMI are a sisterhood, we all inspire each other and I am going to be so sad when I have to hand over my crown!!

What is your must have item for pageant day?
A lot of people will have make up or hair things but my most have item is food!! Pageant days can be so stressful and it's filled with lots of rehearsals, interviews, getting your hair and makeup done, and people forget to eat!! This means later on stage you could feel faint and you won't enjoy it as much. I always make sure I have breakfast and have  plenty of fluids, sweets if I have literally no time and need a sugar rush but I am the pageant girl that always brings snacks!!

Any advice for this year's contestants?
My advice would be to enjoy every single moment with that blue sash before the
finals, don't second guess yourself or compare yourself to others because you are doing simply amazing being you. You don't need to spend hundreds on
outfits, my winning red, white and blue wear for both national and
international cost me under £30! Also, if you end up not placing or winning,
try again the next year! Both Atlanta and I won on our second attempt at YEMI and Atlanta won the overall YAMI title! 

What was the most exciting part of competing internationally?
Competing internationally has always been my dream, and it's another world! The best part overall (apart from the food and everywhere having DR Pepper on tap!) was to be sharing the experience with my sister queens, we had adjoining rooms so in the morning could just open the middle door and see each other! It was great to bond and it  was like having a girls holiday. Texas is beautiful, I would go again in a

Now we have the beautiful Dawn, who was the first Young European Mrs International, She is a seasoned pageant queen and took home the 1st Runner Up tittle in America.

What are you proudest of doing in your reign(s)?
I'm proud of how far I've come and what I've achieved in such a short space of time. The fact that what I've done inspires women to be themselves and gives them confidence and encourages them to go for their dreams.

The YAMI/YEMI motto is 'aspire to inspire'; who has inspired you the most in your pageant journey?
The motto 'Aspire to Inspire' was what really spoke out to me. It's what I've always done and aimed to do and use my platform for. I entered beauty pageants much later in life than other beauty queens and I have a lot of people constantly messaging me saying what an Inspiration I am to them and how they want to be like me and follow a journey of their own. I'm happy to give advice etc to them when they ask, but feel privileged to be thought of in this way as I literally do live by the motto and always aspire to do more and inspire others to as well.

What is your must have item for pageant day?
I have two 'must have' items for a pageant day. The first is my Younique Epic mascara! I never leave home without it! I'm a Younique presenter and constantly flashing it around to my friends - but I love how it makes my eyes look big and sparkly. My other must have in between rounds is my (sssshhh don't tell anyone)
flip flops! Yes that's right - even beauty queens need comfy footwear after
strutting around in heels!

Any advice for this year's contestants?
My advice to this year’s contestants is to be yourself and to enjoy every single minute! Seriously - it's nice to have something or someone to aspire to, but you need to show the real you at all times. Otherwise you're cheating yourself out of an amazing experience. Yes have a role model to look up to but let your personality shine through and the judges will see that. YEMI is all about real person within and what they do to inspire others. It's an uplifting pageant system and creates
many friends and happy memories.

What was the most exciting part of competing internationally?
The most exciting thing about competing internationally is just being there and being part of it all, as well as meeting your International sister queen finalists. We've all been in touch before the finals but it was so lovely to meet them and spend time with them too. Everyone was made to feel so welcome and it was the best pageant experience ever. It was also exciting to think that I'd won and been given the chance to compete on the American stage. So for me, it was about realizing my dream had come true. It’s a fabulous opportunity that I will cherish forever and will never forget.

The final Queen is the gorgeous Sara Zakaria (who's name is so much fun to say, but hey I'm a simple girl!) Sara won the title of Young European Ms International in 2016, she was then awarded the 'Queen Of Queens' title, giving her the opportunity to fly back out to America, and compete again. Sara brought home the title of 'Young American Miss International Supreme Beauty'

What are you proudest of doing in your reign(s)?
During my reign I am very greatful to have been involved with many charities and to help fundraise and raise awareness for so many causes. I have also been involved with some projects/ events that I am proud to say that I arranged myself. I have recently started a new job and arranged for us all to have a ‘dress down Friday’ where we all pay £1 and then we can come to work in casual clothing on the Friday. I am really glad that I could bring my fundraising and community work skills into the work place and now make a difference for our chosen charity every week. I have also been working on a project to knit blankets for babies in my local NICU and getting others involved with this also. I really wanted to do this as it is the unit that looked after me when I was a premature baby

The YAMI/YEMI motto is 'aspire to inspire'; who has inspired you the most in your pageant journey?
Well Jeyanne is going to think this is really funny and a little cringe but she is the person that has inspired me the most in my pageant journey! Having seen Jeyanne’s pageant journey and all that she has been involved with and achieved she’s definitely inspired me the most in my own pageant journey! I remember seeing the photo on facebook when she won the Supreme Beauty title in the USA and thinking I want to be like her! It makes me so happy to think that I went on to win the Supreme Beauty title at Y.A.M.I just a few years later!

What is your must have item for pageant day?
For pageant day I don’t have a must have item as such however I must have spares of each outfit for stage! This can seem a bit extreme and does mean that I will always have a lot of luggage but I guess it’s always good to be well prepared!

Any advice for this year's contestants?
In order for me to feel prepared I will always make a list of everything I need for pageant weekend! I believe that Preparation is key and by doing so means that I can relax and be myself without worrying I’ve forgotten anything! I would also say to all contestants to have fun and enjoy the experience! YEMI is such a brilliant pageant system to be involved with and I know that we have a brilliant weekend planned for the finals in November!

What was the most exciting part of competing internationally?
I absolutely loved competing internationally and the whole week in the USA was great! It was really nice to spend time with my sister queens and directors and everyone was being so supportive of each other. I think the most exciting part of competing internationally was being in the ballroom waiting to compete and cheering everyone else on!

What has being crowned ‘Queen of Queens’ meant to you?
Being crowned Young European International Queen of Queens was such an honour! It has meant that I have been able to continue within the YEMI system and to keep working with charities and causes whilst spreading the ethos of ‘aspire to inspire.’ As queen of queens one of my goals is to help my sister queens as much as possible by promoting the work they do with their charities and I have really enjoyed being involved with and learning about so many different causes. Being crowned Queen of Queens also meant that I had the opportunity to go back to compete at Y.A.M.I which was brilliant and where I won the Young American Miss International Supreme Beauty title!

Jeyanne is the Director of YEMI, she has successfully brought the amazing pageant into its third year. She was also a previous pageant competitor herself before becoming a Director.

What does ‘Aspire to Inspire’ mean for you as a director?

For me personally aspire to inspire is being the best possible role model
not only for my queens but contestants too. I like to think the advice I give
is the advice I also live by and when I do things or act a certain way I
remember that there are a lot of younger girls following me and so I want to be
able to point them in the right direction and hopefully aspire them to make
good decisions.

What made you switch from pageant girl to director?
It felt like a natural transition for me. I’d competed internationally a
few times. There were no Pageants in the UK I felt I fitted into but I knew I
didn’t want to be completely out of pageantry. I have always had a knack for
running events. My mum says it’s because I’m so bossy ๐Ÿ™„

What are you looking for in your next queens? 
I have a thing where I always say that my next queens don’t have to follow
in the footsteps of their predecessor because they’re their own person with
their own journey and own path to take. I just want someone who builds a strong
platform, Represents me and my system well, stays true to herself and above all
aspires to inspire.

Who is your pageant Idol/Inspiration? 
I have a lot not just one. I like to take lots of different qualities from
different people and use that to inspire me. Especially ex queens who then use
their platform to really make something of their lives like Priyanka Chopra. In
everyday life Nicole Harris is one of my closest friends and also a very
inspirational queen and person. She works so hard and will literally help anyone
she can. She’s just amazing

What's your biggest tip for the contestants?
Sounds clichรฉ but be yourself and enjoy every second of it because it goes by so so quickly and you don’t want to miss it. So when I was given the opportunity to run an amazing system with the best international director by my side I knew I couldn’t say no. I wanted to give girls the same experiences I’d had in pageantry if not better. I wanted to give a pageant that helped girls with their confidence. That felt like family and home to everyone. I wanted YEMI to be known for being open to everyone no matter your history and to really be the true essence of pageantry which to me is friendship, charity, kindness and truly inspirational queens.

Young American Miss International is ran by acclaimed pageant contestant, coach and director Sabrina Hubbard. In 2019 the Internationals will be renamed to Young International Miss. The YAMI Franchise has been run by Sabrina since 2016 with the motto of ‘Aspire to Inspire’.

What does Aspire to Inspire mean for you as a director?
“Aspire to Inspire” for me as the owner and director of YAMI means having integrity, being there for my contestants, queens, and community any time. It means inspiring those that come in contact with me and YAMI to want to wake up each day and do something meaningful for the community and themselves. For me being able to inspire those around me is such a blessing. I want everyone that comes to YAMI to walk away having an amazing time, knowing that they count, and that they will always have a place with the family.

What are you looking for in a YAMI queen?
There is actually several things I look for but I like to see that person as an overall whole. To me naming those things would just be pin points for someone to master. I want to see the overall you. The queen that aspires to inspire daily, for that person that puts forth the extra effort in all they do. Having a YAMI title holds great weight for me not just in America but Internationally as well. There are kids and adults all over the world that see our system and recognize our queens. For them to be able to be in position as queen is pretty amazing to me because of the impact they could possibly have on the world.

What do you think about the 2018 YEMI contestants?
I don’t know too much about them honestly just from what I see online. Normally, I don’t see that much before the pageant but this year I am impressed that I have seen much much more from them. YEMI is a force to be reckoned with. They brought it this year so it’s for sure a tall order to fill. I have the utmost respect for Jeyanne and for YEMI and I know many more amazing things are to come

 What’s your best tip for the pageant girls?

Everyone always says be yourself, make a memory, or have fun as a tip and to me that should be a given. Let’s face it everyone is there for the crown but being apart of the YAMI and YEMI family is just that, you are family no matter what. If I could give one single tip that would be be hard so here is a few:

-Take the stage as your own personal runway. Rock it like you are at home, or how you did as a little girl pretending you’re a super model. Show your sass and you will shine on stage. 
-Always listen to your directors ๐Ÿ˜‰
-Ask questions
-Go out of your way to introduce yourself to fellow contestants, Queens, and directors. It makes you memorable and that’s something that is great to be.

A massive Thank you goes out to the Queens and directors for taking the time out to answer my questions and another massive thank you goes out to my Mumma for giving me this opportunity and letting me see my visions through.

Remember, chin up, smile and Aspire to Inspire,
Your Young European International Teen London
Mya Henry

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