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Issue:- 4 September 2014

Catwalk model and former beauty queen backs the latest Miss Wirral contest at Pyramids

 Anita White at Miss Liverpool in 1979.Anita White at Miss Mersey Mart in 1984.

A former beauty queen who rubbed shoulders in her career with A-list celebrities such as the late Hollywood film star James Mason is backing the search for a new fashion starlet at a Birkenhead shopping centre. The free to enter Miss Wirral in association with Pyramids Shopping Centre is being organised by the Heswall based Frame Model and Casting Agency.  It carries a £1,000 prize package and could be the passport to a glittering catwalk future for the lucky winner. Anita White, who has twice been crowned Miss Liverpool and went on to enjoy a successful career as a model and screen extra, is encouraging girls to enter what she says could be a springboard to future stardom.

Anita White at Miss Prestatyn in 1981.

Anita, who lives in Gayton, was in her mid-teens when her mother suggested she enter the Miss Liverpool contest in 1978 which was then hosted by the City Council.  She took the coveted title and went on to spend an incredible year as an official ambassadress for Liverpool at a host of events in and around the City at which she met some of the biggest stars of the day including legendary comedians Ken Dodd and Canon and Ball and Hollywood superstar James Mason. Anita recalled:- "The prize money for winning the Miss Liverpool title was £1,000, which was an incredible amount for the time. But apart from the money I had a fabulous year representing the City at all kinds of events including factory visits and social occasions.  Among the famous people I met at some of the engagements I had were Ken Dodd, who was a laugh a minute, Canon and Ball, who were just full of fun when I switched on Liverpool's Christmas lights with them, and the screen actor James Mason who was extremely charming when I was with him at a country fair in Cheshire."

While her "day job" was as a cashier with the Midland Bank, where she eventually stayed for 25 years, Anita went on to win a total of 8 beauty titles, including another Miss Liverpool crown, Miss Prestatyn and the national Miss Midland Bank, during the late 1970's and early 1980's.  Later she moved into modelling, doing mainly clothing work, and still strides the catwalk for adverts and at charity fashion events.  Anita has also been an extra on a number of TV shows including the Chester-based soap Hollyoaks and one off films such as the one she made with the late acclaimed Merseyside actor Pete Postlethwaite who she remembers with great fondness as:- "a real gentleman".

She said:- "I'm delighted to be giving my support to the new Miss Wirral contest for a number of reasons. It's free to enter, which should open it up to many more girls, and should be a lot of fun.  As I know from my own experience, entering competitions like this builds confidence, broadens the mind and gives you the chance to meet people you'd never usually meet. It can also be a springboard to other exciting things such as modelling or screen extra work as it has been for me.  I'd encourage as many girls as possible to get involved."

During September Pyramids Shopping Centre will be hosting four casting sessions with the live grand final on 27 September 2014.  Derek Millar, Commercial Director for Pyramids Shopping Centre, said:- "We are delighted to team up with Frame again for our search for Miss Wirral which will be all about finding someone who not only has the right skills to break into the world of fashion and fame but is also known for contributing to their local community or enjoys working charitably in some way. As the main shopping centre at the heart of the Wirral which is full of big brand fashion names such as H&M, Next, Marks & Spencer and Miss Selfridge, we are the ideal venue to host such an event."

The idea was the brainchild of Laura Seymour who runs Frame with her business partner Louisa Houghton.  Laura said:- "I wanted to use my expertise in the business to create a competition which is close to the heart of the Wirral and carries a local title which the winner will be proud to hold.  It could also be the perfect passport to a career in modelling for the girl with the right attributes of looks, pose and personality.  To ensure that the competition has the right local connections I'm delighted to be working closely with Pyramids which is at the very centre of Wirral life. Both our casting sessions for the contest will be at the shopping centre, which will also provide the perfect venue for the grand final, and we will be encouraging people to vote for the winning girl on Pyramids' website."

Anita White (left) and Laura Seymour of Frame are pictured at Pyramids Shopping Centre in Birkenhead.

Miss Wirral is open to girls aged 16 to 30 who are either living on the Wirral or have close connections to the area.

The 2 sessions offering girls the opportunity to sign up as competitors will be held at Pyramids Shopping Centre on Friday, 5 September and Saturday, 6 September 2014 and again on Friday and Saturday, 12 September and 13 September 2014, all from 10am until 4pm.

Laura explained:- "All the girls will be welcomed by myself and other members of my competition team. We'll take their details and hold a short interview with each of them just to gauge their personality. Our photographer will take their picture.  From all those who sign up at the two sessions myself and fellow judges will select a shortlist of 25 girls whose details and picture will be posted on the Pyramids' website.   Members of the public will then have the chance to vote online or in ballot boxes placed around the shopping centre for the winner.  From those attracting the most votes we'll select 10 or 12 finalists who will go forward to our fabulous grand final to be staged at Pyramids on Saturday, 27 September 2014, when they will parade in evening wear.  The final say will be down to a panel of judges headed by a star from the TV soap Hollyoaks, who I'll be naming later, and also including myself and representatives from the management teams at Pyramids and Frame modelling.  The girl eventually chosen as Miss Wirral will be awarded some fantastic prizes headed by a year's modelling contract with Frame. She'll also receive a crown, flowers and vouchers for stores in Pyramids and there will be the chance to represent the Wirral and Pyramids by making personal appearances at various events during the year she holds the title."

Laura added:- "Entering the competition is a great opportunity for one lucky girl to really shine and win the kind of high profile which may well stand her in good stead for a great career in modelling.  I'm hoping to make the competition an annual event which will really help to put Wirral on the map."

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