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West Belfast out on its own when it comes to good looks

Two more local girls in beauty finals

By Gráinne Brinkley

TWO West Belfast girls are among 26 from across the North competing for the title of Miss Northern Ireland next week – putting the West of the city firmly at the top of the Irish beauty league. Elpitha Lyssary, 19, from Kestrel Green near Poleglass, and Rebecca McMahon, 18, from Dunmurry, will be taking to the stage for the Open + Direct Miss NI 2012 final at the Europa Hotel in Belfast on Monday night.

The news comes a week after Lenadoon girl Rebecca Maguire was dramatically crowned Miss Ireland. Also a finalist in that competition was Amira Graham from Blacks Road, proving conclusively that the best-looking girls in the country come from West Belfast.

The two Miss NI finalists have a stream of VIP engagements and photo calls to get through this weekend before they face the judging panel at the glittering gala final, which will be hosted by TV presenter and former Miss Northern Ireland Zoe Salmon and UTV news broadcaster Marc Mallett.

The overall winner will represent the North in the Miss World competition in China in August and take up a year-long contract with the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency as well as scoop prizes worth thousands of pounds.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News ahead of the big night, both girls said they were happy to just get to the final.

Elpitha, who would like to go on to become a teacher, won the Miss Bangor heat of the Miss Northern Ireland competition.

“I was interested in doing a bit of modelling and getting myself out there, so I decided to enter the competition to see where it led me,” said the former St Louise’s student, who is currently studying for a degree in Music at Queen’s University.

“I had no expectations going into it so it was a big shock to get through to the final.  I was so pleased and so proud of myself.  It’s been a bit surreal but an amazing experience so far.”

St Louise’s A-Level student Rebecca McMahon, who will begin studies in Drama, Theatre Studies and Dance at Roehampton University in September, won the Miss Antrim heat.

“I already work for the Alison Campbell Modelling Agency so I know most of the girls taking part in the competition,” said Rebecca.

“I already do a bit of modelling and promotion work.”

Both girls said they were well prepared to give up a year of their lives for the testing promotional duties that come with being named Miss Northern Ireland.

“I would be only too happy to carry out the duties if I won,” said Elpitha. “It’s an amazing opportunity that would be totally worth it.  I can go back to my degree after the year is over.”

“I’ll definitely not win it but I’d be happy to take a year out from my studies,” smiled Rebecca. “I probably will enter more of these competitions anyway to get some experience and build my confidence up.”

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