By day she is Miss Brown to a class of eager eight-year-olds – but outside the classroom Laura Brown is swapping counting for catwalks as she bids to win the title of Miss Scotland.
Laura, 23, has made it through to the final rounds of the national beauty contest having already competed in the Miss West Lothian pageant.
The primary teacher, who lives in Livingston and teaches primary four at St Nicholas School in Broxburn, hopes that by making it into the top ten finalists of the national competition she is providing a good example for the girls –and boys – in her class.
“I do see myself as a role model, through my work as a primary school teacher and also through teaching swimming and promoting good health,” she said.
“Some people might think that taking part in a beauty pageant isn’t setting a good example for young girls, but the girls see me every day and they know I am a real person, not some glamour-puss caked in make-up.
“And the boys can see that too, so hopefully it will teach them that the other women they see in the media are also real people.”
Miss Brown’s class were the first to know she had made it through to the last ten contestants in Miss Scotland 2013, out of roughly 1500 entrants.
She said: “Usually my phone is off during classes, but I decided I had to leave it on. The call came when I was giving a PE lesson – when I told the kids they all started jumping up and down.”
Laura first discovered her love of teaching through giving swimming lessons as a teenager, when she also represented Scotland’s youth at a national and international level. Though she has just completed her first year as a fully-blown school teacher, she still continues to give swimming lessons to people of all ages through local company Mighty Swimmers.
She said: “I realised how much I enjoyed teaching and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. One year in I absolutely love it.”
Miss Brown has previously competed in both Miss West Lothian and Miss Edinburgh.
“I was only about 15 or 16 when I did Miss West Lothian, and I took part in Miss Edinburgh a few years later,” she said. “My parents encouraged me to enter the first time round because they said it would be great experience – and they were right.
“Taking part in Miss West Lothian all those years ago really helped me know what to expect in competitions like this.
“The interviews we had to do gave me invaluable experience in public speaking, which came in especially handy during our last Miss Scotland challenge when I had to host a fashion show. It could have been terrifying, but I actually really enjoyed it.”
The winner of Miss Scotland will be announced on May 29 at the crowning in Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket.
ASHLEY ‘THRILLED’ BY LAURA’S SUCCESS
Former Miss West Lothian winner and America’s Next Top Model contestant Ashley Brown, 23, said she was “thrilled” to hear of Laura’s continued success.
Ashley said: “That’s brilliant, I’m absolutely thrilled she’s got through. It just goes to show that if you get the right kind of start – and you know how to make the most of it – it can definitely lead to bigger things. You have to be motivated though, and be willing to put yourself out there and do the work, which clearly Laura has done.”
After winning her title in 2009 Ashley went on to appear on Britain’s Next Top Model, before also representing her country in last year’s season of America’s Next Top Model.