A teacher has made quite the career change quitting her job at a prestigious girl’s school in order to enter the infamous Miss Universe contest.
26-year-old Maria Wilkes taught modern languages at one of London’s top schools for girls, Channing School in Highgate, which costs £18,500 per year to attend.
Now Maria, who has Venezuelan and English roots, will be competing against 38 other hopefuls in Newport, South Wales in the Miss Universe GB finals.
Although Maria understands that she took a big risk giving up the whiteboard for bikinis and false eyelashes, the main thing that she is worried about is falling over in her high heels.
She told The Daily Star:
One of my fears is that I’ll fall off these shoes. If I do I’ll just have to get up gracefully and keep smiling.
So excited to announce that I'll be partnering with @thesoccermarkt ⚽️ a newly launched social network and marketplace for the football community! I will be listing some of my own footballer-signed memorabilia in the next few days to raise money for @strongbonescct so stay tuned and give them a follow too! ☺️ #soccermarkt #charity #football #resale #marketplace #soccermarket #socialnetwork #soccer #futbol #footballshirts #footballboots #memorabilia #strongbones #charitysale #footballfans
It seems that Maria does not have that much concerning her however, many parents at the school which she previously taught at are unhappy.
One mum, who wishes to remain anonymous, told The Daily Star:
I’m very annoyed. Maria has said she wants to ‘inspire and empower’ girls and then we see her packaging herself for the male gaze, parading her boobs and having a glamorous lifestyle as a result.
It’s fine if girls have firm values at home, but she is sending out a message that this is what you have to do to get ahead.
Girls are very vulnerable at 11, and forming their image of what being pretty is, and they’ll compare themselves with Maria and find themselves falling short.
We all learnt so much yesterday at the official @missuniversegreatbritain training day ?? thank you to the beautiful miss universe GB 2014 @gracielevy for such a wonderful day. Bring on the finals!! ✨?? 5 weeks to go! #london #weekend #mugb #missuniversegb #finalist #potd #picoftheday #chelsea #trainingday #pageant #pageanttraining #happy #model #smilize #maraldress #reiss #style #ootd #fashion #instastyle
Maria, who regularly posts on Instagram, disagrees saying that she thinks that she is a great example to the young girls at the school.
Instagram isn’t reality and my pupils know that. They’d see me in my work clothes, sometimes without make-up, they know I don’t wake up looking like I do today.
I believe I’m a great example to girls who want to become independent young women who use their intellect to decide what they want to do with their lives.
Whatever your thoughts it is hard not to admire Maria’s bravery giving up a great career for a go at becoming Miss Universe.
We will find out on July 15 whether she will make it to the international finals.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.