An aerospace engineering student who spent years being bullied for her looks has been crowned Miss England 2022.
The beauty queen’s victory marks a historic moment for the pageant, as she becomes the first redhead ever to win the Miss England crown in its 94-year-history.
Jessica Gage, 26, will now represent England at the Miss World competition next year. She beat 30 other contestants to the top spot at the prestigious pageant, which was held in the UK city of Birmingham.
However, the gorgeous redhead wasn’t always revered for her looks. According to a report by Daily Mail, Gagen spent much of her childhood being viciously bullied for her ginger hair.
The outlet detailed how she endured being punched, spat on, and burned in secondary school, where she was also the victim of name-calling and forced to eat her lunch in the toilets.
It was only after she left school and was signed by a modeling agency that Gagen’s confidence began to be rebuilt. At just 18 years old, she left her hometown in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, and began jetting around the world to model, taking to catwalks all over the globe.
Last year, she finished as runner-up in the Miss England beauty contest, losing out to Rehema Muthamia. Now she has silenced her critics once and for all by taking home the crown at the glamorous grand final of the 2022 competition.
Alongside modeling, Gagen is studying for an integrated master’s degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Liverpool.
She has also helped raise over $6,700 dollars for local charities by running 5k in a different fancy dress costume every day – an activity which has earned her the nickname ‘Fancy-Dress Jess’.
For her Miss England campaign, she launched an initiative to help get more girls into STEM subjects, hoping to inspire women to pursue their dreams.
This year’s Miss England runners-up had similarly intriguing resumes. Second place went to Emily Cossey, 24, a chess champion from London. Meanwhile, 22-year-old Milly Everatt – a HGV delivery driver from Lincolnshire – won third place in the pageant.