Donegal supporters will be cheering on their beauty queen tonight.
Buncrana native Grainne Gallanagh is just hours away from big moment on stage at the Miss Universe pageant in Thailand.
The 24-year-old beauty is vying to become Ireland’s first-ever Miss Universe titleholder tonight/tomorrow.
The London-based nurse has been on a whirlwind adventure since becoming Ireland’s entry in the closely-watched international contest.
Grainne has already spent almost a month in Thailand taking part in Miss Universe events and training for the final on Sunday night.
At midnight Irish time on 17th December (7am in Bangkok), Grainne will compete against 94 contestants from around the world for the crown.
This year’s pageant boasts all-female judging panel for the first time in 67 years.
The show will include the first ever transgender entrant, Angela Ponce, who is competing as Miss Spain.
Sharing her excitement on Instagram, Grainne said she couldn’t believe the moment has finally come: “I am still struggling to comprehend that this dream became a reality. I am a firm believer in what is meant for you will not pass you by.
“Thank you so much to every single person that has supported me and believed in me, I do not take it for granted. I will do my best to make all of Ireland proud of me and take the crown back to Ireland. This experience has been out of this world but it is not over yet.”
Since becoming Miss Universe, Grainne has been using her platform on social media to highlight her main passions – women’s issues and women’s health. She has been a guest speaker at women’s events in Ireland and has fundraised for the Donegal Women’s Centre in Letterkenny.
Her ultimate goal is to establish a new community standard for modern medicine by opening her own women’s health clinic.
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She said she is proud to represent not only her country but also her supporters at home in Donegal.
Grainne said: “I could not be happier with the support I’ve got. My friends and family have been amazing. My hometown has been incredible, people are always congratulating me and they’re always saying how proud they are, even online, people I don’t even know, it’s such a lovely feeling. I’ve got such a great team behind me. It’s nice to bring something happy to my hometown.”
The overall winner of Miss Universe doesn’t just get a tiara, but they receive a one year contract with the Miss Universe Organisation in New York and a modelling portfolio.
Good luck Grainne!