Solihull teen bids to become Miss Birmingham

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A teenager from the Midlands’ Irish community has thrown her hat into the ring in a bid to become the next Miss Birmingham.

Alexa Sheehan, aged 17, from Solihull, is being sponsored by The Harp in the contest, which has already seen her make it through to the final.

The St Peter’s Catholic School pupil, whose Irish roots are in Kerry, Cork and Limerick, is one of 40 finalists chosen from 600 initial entrants.

Alexa’s mum Remarna said she was proud of her daughter entering Miss Birmingham and she and her husband David were excitedly looking forward to the final.

She said: “Alexa has always been one of those people who goes to mass every Sunday, works for charity – she volunteers every week at the local Acorns shop – and is a straight A student.

“She saw something about Miss Birmingham and said ‘you know what mum, I am going to apply’.”

The 21st century Miss Birmingham competition is a world away from the traditional idea of a beauty pageant and as part of the process contestants have to organise their own charity event and take part in an extreme boot camp.

Remarna added: “I have always been quite strong-minded, as has Alexa and we believe in the idea of strong independent women.

“She very much wanted to show a positive attitude that women can do modelling as well as have a mind.

“She wants to stand-up for Birmingham and is saying you can be beautiful and have brains too.”

Alexa said: “I applied back in the summer and got an email in January inviting me for an interview.

“I was asked lots of questions, including why I wanted to be in Miss Birmingham and what charity work I had done.

“I’m doing this because I want to be an ambassador for Birmingham, get my voice heard and represent young girls.

“I’ve never done anything like this before though – it’s a new experience for me.”

Alexa, who is hoping to do psychology at university next year – she has offers from Birmingham, Warwick and Nottingham universities – is still an active member of the Holy Souls parish in Acocks Green and a regular altar server there.

Prior to moving to Solihull her family lived in Acocks Green and have retained their strong ties with the parish.

Last year she went as a volunteer to Lourdes with the Handicapped Children’s Pilgrimage Trust (HCPT).

She also ran the Solihull Race For Life, raising more than £1,000 for HCPT.

As part of her Miss Birmingham bid she is organising a charity event on February 27 at the Holy Souls social club in Acocks Green.

The event will raise funds for the Miss Birmingham charity Beauty With a Purpose, which helps disadvantaged children worldwide.

The Miss Birmingham final takes place on March 15, the same day as this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade in the city, meaning Alexa will miss out on one of her favourite events of the year.

It takes place at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel in Birmingham city centre.

There will be a number of rounds, during which the contestants have to wear a variety of outfits, with an unusual twist being an eco round where entrants have wear a dress they have made themselves from recycled materials.

The winner of Miss Birmingham will get to switch the city’s Christmas lights on in December, act as an ambassador for the city at events and go forward to the represent Birmingham in the Miss England contest.