Carina Tyrrell isn’t your typical Miss World contestant – she has a first-class medical degree from Cambridge, years of humanitarian aide experience, and big ambitions to use her beauty and brains to tackle global heath issues.
You may be forgiven for thinking that beauty pageant winners don’t offer much beyond their looks, but this year’s Miss England is set to change all of that. Carina Tyrrell’s CV is an endless list of awards, achievements, skills, and volunteer experience, and she wants to use Miss World as a platform to make a difference to the world.
Where past winners have simply stated they want to bring world peace, Carina can actually deliver on her goals of healing the world. She’s a Cambridge medical student, who has researched viruses, parasites, heart disease, and the genetics of mental disorders. Aware that health issues are about people more than just medicine, she’s also worked at the World Health Organisation, volunteered in India, Ghana, Rwanda and Brazil, regularly does charity fund-raising, and works with the homeless and sick children in her spare time at Cambridge. Aside from all that, she enjoys skiing, dancing, and dress-making (the video below is impressive for her delivery as well as the resulting dress).
What got you started with modelling?
I have always been interested in fashion, and from age 13 to 18 I designed, created and modelled my own dresses for the annual school charity fashion show. Following this, aged 23, I entered the Modelsearch competition held at the Grafton Centre in Cambridge. I had heard about it on the radio and decided to enter for fun. To my surprise I won my age category. The experience reminded me of how much I enjoyed being on stage and with my medical background, I decided I would like to run for Miss England to hopefully become Miss World and an ambassador for the charity Beauty with a Purpose.
Many models begin part-time – how have you fit modelling around your busy workload as a medical student?
Being Miss England does involve some modelling work, but it also involves a lot of charity work. The latter has been very easy to fit into my medical studies as I have been working with a number of charitable organisations as a medical student. The number of activities I pursue as Miss England has meant that I have decided to defer my final year of medicine so that I can focus on my Miss England role and the preparations for Miss World.
As someone with so many interests (from skiing, to charity-fundraising, and being a student doctor), what is it that you love about FASHION?
I have always been artistic and I love art. For me, modelling is a form of artwork and I enjoy working with the space around me, the lighting and colours, with different expressions, to create a piece of art. I also enjoy working with the team – the photographer, the hair and makeup artists, the wardrobe stylist and more.
What traits helped you make it to where you are now? Is it purely based on looks, or has your intelligence played a large part?
Being Miss England is not all about looks. You need to be photogenic because you are often in front of the camera. However, it is your persona that counts. I believe it is my passion for helping others through medicine that has lead me to where I am today.
Your interest in fashion goes beyond just being a model – tell us about your LOVE OF fashion design
Being artistic, I get inspired by tabloids, sculptures and costumes. Seeing the fashions of Jean Paul Gaultier spurred me on to create eye-catching creations for women. I began doing this aged 14 for my school’s annual charity fashion show. Most recently, I have been designing and dress making for the Miss England competition where I created a dress for the Royal Ascot, based on My Fair Lady.
Carina’s dress-making tutorial
You’ve said you want to use your medicine degree to work towards improving global health – as your career grows, will there still be a place for modelling and fashion in your life and work?
Medicine is my true passion and I want to work in global health and be at the forefront of helping people on a global scale. With this comes a public image and I will need to present myself appropriately. For this reason I believe my modelling work and fashion background will help me to maintain a good image.
What made you want to enter Miss Cambridge/England? Did you have aims to be a role model for being smart and well-rounded, rather than just for being beautiful?
I saw the Miss England and Miss World competitions as a platform to allow young women to become role models and express themselves to the wider community. With my aim to work in global health, I believe that these titles are giving me a platform from which I can extend my reach to helping others.
With the Miss England crown, and all the attention that comes with it, what are some of the good things you hope to achieve?
I hope to be role model to young women and to encourage them not to take their education for granted. It is a vital part of today’s world. I also hope to break the boundaries between beauty and academia and to shed light on the message behind Miss World. There are many misconceptions around this. Mostly, I would like to use my medical skills and the Miss England public platform to raise awareness of key health issues and to try and tackle these. I have been working with the homeless for a number of years and believe that the stigma attached to homelessness needs to change. In addition, I find it unacceptable that in 2014 there is still so much suffering and it is shocking that people can be stricken by poverty and disease simply because of where they live or unfortunate circumstances. I am trying to tackle these issues and have been fortunate to help “Doctors without Borders” (MSF) on the Ebola outbreak, as well as being an intern at the World Health Organisation which has given me a better understanding of the global platform required to tackle such issues.
What advice would you give to models, and fashion designers, starting out?
I believe it is important to remember that you work as a team and to respect one another. Being on time, prepared, and in good spirits is always a good start to any job. For designers, I think it is important to be inspired by something and portray a message through your creations. I would give equal weight to the design as well as the dress making itself. Always seek advice and help where necessary. Most of all, enjoy your job!
Follow Carina’s journey through the Miss World competition
Carina is currently competing in Miss World in London, with the Grand Final taking place on December 14th 2014.
You can vote for Carina by downloading the Miss World App from http://www.missworld.com/TheCompetition/TheMissWorldMobileApp/