Inspired by her bodybuilding grandfather, Madison enters Miss England
Madison Looby is asking Bermuda to help her make it into the semi-finals of the Miss England competition.
She signed up for the beauty pageant as a tribute to her late grandfather, Clifford Looby, whose life inspired her to build her own self-esteem.
“My grandfather was a bodybuilder and he won many competitions. I had thought of going into modelling but I didn’t have the confidence for it,” said the 23-year-old who left Bermuda for the UK in 2008 with her parents, Mistie Looby and Wentworth Tucker.
“When I found out that he actually trained Miss World, Gina Swainson, I was so excited. He trained her in 1979 and he was a competition winner himself. He competed with Arnold Schwarzenegger [the actor and former governor of California]; he created his own Tarzan movie – pretty awesome man there. And then when he came here to live with us I hoped he would help me train and get the confidence that I needed.”
Mr Looby died in 2019 at the age of 85.
Madison, a sales associate in Kettering, a town 83 miles north of London, is one of 29 women from her region who are now in the first heat of Miss England.
She is hoping the competition helps her determine whether she is able to juggle college, while also pursuing opportunities as an actor and a model.
“I went to a performing arts school over here. So that's, I guess, when I got the acting bug,” she said. “I'm proud to say that I applied to [London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art] and I got in,” Madison said. “The holdup has been, I guess, finding that confidence.
“So I'm doing this in memory of my grandfather and also to gain confidence in myself. Especially if you want to work in acting or modelling, you definitely have to have confidence in yourself first.”
To enter, Madison had to submit an introductory video and also one of her on the catwalk. She hopes to be one of three contestants that move forward to the semi-finals. Two will be selected based on votes and the decision of Miss England judges; one will move on based on their commitment to WeDoEthical, a tree-planting initiative.
“The first heat ends in ten days or so. The public has until then to vote on my picture by going to Miss England's website.
“But we have ethical pledging to plant a certain amount of trees within the next couple of years and then go to the semi-finals that way.”
Should she make it to the semi-finals, Madison will then be challenged to “make a dress out of recycled materials or perform a talent”.
“As a shy person and an introvert that's … I would not say it’s a struggle; I'm sure I can rise to the challenge, but it’s definitely brave for me,” she said, adding that she would likely choose ballet as her talent.
“I watched Harnazz Sandhu from Day 1, she's the most recent Miss Universe winner, and she was so confident – the way she spoke; the way she held herself walking on stage representing her country, which is India. I cried and was like, I've been wanting to do this for such a long time and I know if I let another year go by without doing it and just wishing it was me on the stage then I would definitely regret it.”
At the moment the competition is virtual. Madison is considering a gombey costume or something that reflects her “Bermudian side” should she make it to the point where a national dress is required.
“I'm actually learning about my history, reading my history, learning where I come from so I can know more about who I am.”
In the meantime she is hoping that Bermuda roots for her.
Support Madison Looby here: https://bit.ly/3uDT0z1 or download the Miss England app and cast multiple votes. For more information visit missengland.info