Ambitious Letterkenny woman Niamh Frain is this week celebrating being named in the Top 30 of the Miss Universe Ireland 2018 finals.
Makeup artist Niamh Frain had wanted to apply for the international pageant in recent years, and everything has aligned this year to make the timing just right.
When the call came to say she was through to the final, the dream became a reality.
Speaking to Donegal Woman on her way to Dublin for her first MUI photoshoot, Niamh said, “I was so excited, my heart was racing. It’s such a privilege and honour to be chosen.
“This contest is about so much more than your exterior beauty. The director Brittany Mason has changed things around so it’s about being confidently beautiful in every way. It’s about equality, confidence and empowering women,” Niamh said.
Niamh is one of three young women from the county who have been chosen for the ‘Class of 2018’, which was revealed on Sunday. Her fellow Donegal finalists are Emma Roarty from Dunlewey and Grainne Gallanagh from Buncrana.
Having three local women representing Donegal and sharing the message of the pageant is a bonus, Niamh said.
As a former IADT Character MakeUp Design student, Niamh has some experience in the visual industry, but this will be her first time truly in the spotlight.
“Miss Universe is something I’ve always had an interest in. Being an MUA means I’m always behind the scenes and I’ve learned a lot from watching people go out on the catwalk,” she said.
Over the next month, Niamh is looking forward to learning from Brittany and her fellow contestants about what it takes to be Ireland’s ambassador.
A key part of Miss Universe Ireland is for every woman to stand up for a topic they feel passionately about. Niamh will be advocating for children’s care, as she herself is a foster sister.
“My family cared for foster children all the time, so this and the ISPCC are things that I hold very close to my heart.
“I love kids and I think that it’s so important that kids are loved without limits in order for them to grow up in the best way possible. We loved all kids like they were our own and that has taught me invaluable lessons. You learn that life is so simple if you get the right start.
“Having kids in our home was us doing our part for children’s welfare. I’d love to get involved with caring for kids more now,” Niamh said.
Another relevant topic Niamh will bring into her campaign is women’s welfare. Following the passing of the abortion referendum, Niamh, her mother Bernie – who is a hugely experienced midwife, and other local women are planning to set up a group for women in crisis pregnancies.
Niamh explains: “It is early days, but the aim of the group will be to help women when they face that choice. We have some GPs getting involved and people who can offer support for women who come for help.
“A lot of women facing the choice will be in crisis pregnancies. They need to have a calm environment to make the best decision for themselves. Our group will make sure they are in a good place to do this.
“So many great women are already involved in this and I think Miss Universe Ireland will be a great time to talk about our plans.”
Niamh is looking forward to sharing her story and her views on stage when the Miss Universe Ireland final takes place on August 2nd. She is hopeful that she and all that contestants can inspire others.
She said: “The motto of the competition is ‘Confidently Beautiful’. I think the women who have the confidence to walk on stage should be applauded and the women who don’t have the confidence will hopefully be inspired.”
Check back to DW this week to hear from other Donegal finalists in the Miss Universe Ireland 2018 competition.