Natalie Marie Quinn is hoping to scoop the title of Mrs Galaxy Ireland at this week's Mrs Galaxy Final.

If Natalie secures the title, she will go on to represent Ireland at a lavish Mrs Galaxy International Grand Final in Florida.

Ballyshannon woman Natalie is a local designer and hip-hop teacher and has been selected to represent Ulster.

This is the third time Natalie has represented Donegal/Ulster, and already has a very impressive trophy cabinet having secured the Mrs Ireland title in 2015 and winning the Woman Crown and Glory Ireland title in 2016. Now, she is hoping for a hat trick.

A popular woman, Natalie already has a huge 20,000 prediction votes on the Pageant Planet website.

Natalie told Donegal Woman that she has always dreamed of competing in pageants.

“I always loved watching pageants with my nan. Being on stage, the sparkly gowns, and charity element looked like great fun and inspired me to give it a try. I wanted to have fun and give to back to the community; it inspired me to compete for Galaxy which is one of the biggest pageants in the world.”

To represent Ireland would be overwhelming, she says, and has been working very hard perfecting her performance for the big day.

“It would genuinely mean the world to me, Ireland is my home, it is a beautiful country full of culture, welcoming people, and great craic. I am of mixed heritage, Irish and Caribbean, and proud to call Ireland my new home.

“It’s has been a lifelong dream to compete internationally in USA. My nana Syliva is Jamaican Irish, and she has been very proud to hear that I represent Ulster as Mrs Galaxy 2017. I would be proud to represent Ireland, and the support I have received has been overwhelming with 20,000 predictive votes to win that’s a lot of pressure but I hope to do everyone proud. I really hope I impress the judges on stage and in my interview, which accounts for 20% of the score at the national final this weekend.

Natalie says she was overwhelmed when invited to compete in the pageant.

“Thousands of ladies would have applied online all hoping and dreaming they have the qualities the organisation is looking for as it more to it than just being a pretty face. They want ambitious credible ladies who can become role models.

“With me, I was asked personally by the director of Galaxy Ireland Pageant if I would like to enter. Well, it goes without saying I was delighted and excited and couldn’t say yes fast enough! It was nice to see they see these qualities in me.”

Using her platform, Natalie has raised almost €3,400 over the past year for the Irish Heart Foundation, Huddersfield African and Caribbean Cultural Trust, and the Temple Street Hospital toy appeal.

“Someone belonging to me lost their life, and I always wanted to give something back to promote awareness of the Irish Heart Foundation. I believe everyone should at least try and give back to the community and promote there culture(s). Over the years, I have raised thousands for Cancer Research, Huddersfield African Caribbean Cultural Trust, and I am now involved in the toy appeal for Temple Street Hospital.”

Natalie is also an entrepreneur, having established her own dance academy in Ballyshannon where she teaches hip-hop dancing to children as young as six years old.

After finishing her Higher National Diploma in Dance in Manchester and completing a course in Business and Finance, she finally took the plunge in July.

“I set up the dance academy from pure love of dance. I have been dancing since I was a child, and I started teaching when I was only 15 years old. I ran Flight Dance Company in the UK for years, involved my students in TV shows on Sky, trained them for stage shows, festivals, and further education.

“It’s great to inspire others, to encourage them to follow their dreams and I’m happy to be a part of that.

“I launched Raw Street Dance Academy at the Lakeside Centre in Ballyshannon a year ago online but only started teaching in July after I landed in Ireland. I’m not one to sit around, I wanted a career of my own plus it’s great craic too. The students are full of personality. I also design and launched Pageant Glamour Designs a year ago too. I make bespoke very blingy sashes, tiara and crown boxes.”

Natalie says that she would tell any young woman dreaming of competing in pageants to give it a go, and that you have nothing to lose by trying it out.

“It’s a great confidence booster, but do some research first to make sure this is something you really want to try as it’s not all about walking on a stage in sparkly dresses and smiling at judges. I would also say have fun and enjoy every moment as I have.”

“The support I have received has been overwhelming but I’m excited and delighted. It’s a lot of pressure but that said, I hope to do my family and friends proud and take the crown to Donegal!”