Belfast nurse takes Miss Northern Ireland crown after friend enters her in the competition

A Belfast nurse has woken up in a dream after being crowned Miss Northern Ireland 2024 on Monday night.

Hannah Johns stunned on stage at the Gala Final at the Europa Hotel as she took the reigns from Miss NI 2023 Kaitlyn Clarke.

The renal nurse, who last week worked 50 hours at Belfast City Hospital before competing in the historic beauty contest, said her first day as Miss NI has been "surreal" to say the least.

Read more: In Pictures: Hannah Johns crowned Miss Northern Ireland 2024

Read more: Crowds flock to the Europa Hotel as new Miss Northern Ireland crowned

Speaking to Belfast Live, the 24-year-old said she had to get her sister to ensure she was not dreaming when she woke up in the Europa Hotel on Tuesday morning.

She said: "It was surreal but it was the best experience and I would want to do it over and over again.

"Initially, it wasn't me that applied for Miss Northern Ireland - it was my work colleague actually sent my application form for me.

The newly crowned Miss Northern Ireland Hannah Johns.
The newly crowned Miss Northern Ireland Hannah Johns.

"She was like 'this girl is perfect' and I didn't see it in myself but she saw it in me, which I thought was just the loveliest thing, and then I decided you know what, I'll do it.

"Why not? What have I got to lose? So I went into it, not having any expectations and throughout the journey of the two months of me being in Miss Northern Ireland, I saw another side of myself.

"I felt more confident and grew so much in the last two or three months than I have in years of my life."

From not being sure whether she would take up her friend's application to taking home the crown, Hannah said she is so proud of herself and cannot wait to see what the next year brings.

Hannah will represent Northern Ireland on the global stage at Miss World 2025, with details of this year's host country still under wraps.

The newly crowned Miss Northern Ireland Hannah Johns.
The newly crowned Miss Northern Ireland Hannah Johns.

"I am so excited - we don't know where, we don't know when, we don't know any information on where it's going to be but I am just so excited to find out.

"I am just so proud to be representing my country. It is just It's a real honour and I just don't know how else to put it into words," she explained.

On what made the competition so special for her, apart from being crowned the winner, the Belfast nurse said it was "100%" getting to know the other girls in the competition this year.

Hannah continued: "The 27 girls that I met during the competition - they literally all made my experience so enjoyable, so uplifting.

"I think everyone grew from it and everyone was so confident and you could tell their progression as women throughout it so it was just such an experience.

"I just advocate for anyone to enter it and really experience it. Don't have any preconceived ideas of it and just do your research and talk to the girls that have been through it because you wouldn't regret entering."

She explained that her experiences on the wards as a nurse helped shape her throughout her time in Miss Northern Ireland and reminded her of the importance of the connections and human side of competing.

"As a nurse, I'm very hard working and very caring so I believe did take care of all the girls.

The newly crowned Miss Northern Ireland Hannah Johns. (L-R) Poppy Grace Newell (2nd) Hannah Johns (1st), Lauren Walshe (3rd).
The newly crowned Miss Northern Ireland Hannah Johns. (L-R) Poppy Grace Newell (2nd) Hannah Johns (1st), Lauren Walshe (3rd).

"We all helped each other and I think if you give off positive energy to others, they're gonna give it back to you so I think that's why our group was so tight and it was just so lovely."

Hannah added: "It's so amazing to see everyone celebrating all my family in the middle of the Europa, all standing up - it was just so amazing that I've made my family proud and I'm hopefully gonna make Northern Ireland proud in the next year of my reign.

"I'm just so excited."

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