Kirsty Heslewood, Miss England 2013
Kirsty Heslewood, Miss England 2013

Miss North London Kirsty Heslewood is crowned Miss England 2013 at the contest held at Riviera International Centre in Torquay, Devon.

The 24-year-old from Hertfordshire competed against 59 contestants to take the coveted title, from last year's winner Charlotte Holmes.

"I'm overwhelmed and so relieved. I've worked so hard for this and I'm so glad it's paid off. I'm ecstatic - I don't know what to do with myself," she said after the win.

"I used to suffer from selective mutism, which is when you can't speak at all," she said. "I used to have really bad self-esteem and confidence and I took part because I was intrigued and I wanted to build my confidence and I wanted to see what it involved and make friends as well," she added.

Heslewood will go on to represent the country in the Miss World competition, which will take place in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 28 September. Along with being crowned with the title of Miss England, she will also enjoy a trip the island of Mauritius.

Meanwhile, Holmes had previously defended the beauty pageant saying it "is not just about parading around in swimwear or a glamorous gown".

"The contestants, who range in both height and dress size, are required to take part in a series of enduring challenges during the four day final, aimed at testing and developing their physical fitness, mental creativity, styling, interview skills, individual talents, model potential and social skills," she said.

"Over the years, pageants have moved on, but a lot of people still have the perception that they are sexist and degrading to women," she added.