Published: 12:00, 01 August 2015
Meet the lady who turns more heads than most as she divides her spare time between the catwalk and the rugby pitch.
Toni Burrows, 27, of Dartford, is living proof beauty queens can be as tough as anyone as she bids to win Face of the Globe, an international beauty pageant hosted over a week between the UK and Disneyland Paris.
The corporate resourcer is due to attend a star-studded bash at Elstree Television Studios in Hertfordshire next month to compete for one of five spots in the Paris grand final.
Getting her competitive juices flowing for the contest won’t be too difficult as she scrums down for Brockleians Ravens ladies team when she is not strutting her stuff in her finest garb.
Miss Burrows began entering beauty contests when she was 18, but was forced to take a break because of age restrictions which ruled her ineligible.
She said: "I loved the atmosphere and I made so many friends during them.
"I also wanted to keep raising money for charity, so I searched for credible pageants for over-25s and that’s when I came across Face of the Globe."
Despite her experience she maintains she is still prone to bouts of stage fright when having to address pageant audiences.
"I used to have a speech impediment when I was younger so I always have this fear it will come back," she said.
When she is not walking the catwalk, she is running on the rugby pitch, which she admits raises eyebrows for some.
Miss Burrows said: "I was leaving work in my rugby kit and one of the guys nearly fell over as he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
"When I tell people I play rugby they are shocked and automatically say I bet all the girls look like men, when actually we are just normal girls in all shapes and sizes that love playing sport.
"When I tell people I am a pageant girl they automatically assume I am an airhead with no real career aspirations.
"I would like to show that beauty queens can be tough, and tough strong women can be beautiful."
It was her fit and healthy lifestyle that she believes helped her escape a potential life-threatening incident when she was grabbed by a man who exposed himself to her as she walked home one evening.
Miss Burrows said she was fortunate to avoid the dangerous encounter.
She added: "I was able to push him on to the floor and managed to out run him as I had a head start.
"Luckily I ran in to two policemen who dealt with the situation."
To aid her chances in the competition, Miss Burrows is searching for a sponsor while she raises money for The Children’s Rainbow, her chosen charity.
Finalists will be judged on their fundraising efforts and on stage interview skills when they meet in Hertfordshire on Saturday, August 29.
To follow the contest visit here.
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