‘Miss England bid has helped me put trauma of cat-call ordeal to rest’

·2-min read
Pagan-Lilley Phillips, 25, was mown down by two men on a moped in east London six years ago after she rejected their advances. ( )
Pagan-Lilley Phillips, 25, was mown down by two men on a moped in east London six years ago after she rejected their advances. ( )

A contender for this year’s Miss England says the contest had helped her deal with the “trauma” of being attacked by cat-calling thugs.

Pagan-Lilley Phillips, 25, was mown down by two men on a moped in east London six years ago after she rejected their advances.

She was taken to Queen’s hospital in Romford where doctors found internal bruising and had to take two weeks off from her job following the attack.

Ms Phillips, who grew up in Canning Town is now through to the semi-final of Miss England after coming runner-up in Sunday’s Miss London contest. Success in the national pageant would see her make it through to Miss World.

She said: “This is the moment of me stepping away from the trauma of that incident.

“I’m happy for people to see me and be seen. I’m not going to hide how I look because I’m scared of the wrong attention and I’m going to live authentically as myself.”

 (Pagan-Lilley Phillips)
(Pagan-Lilley Phillips)

She said she was only entered by her friends as “a bit of a joke” but has been surprised by what a positive experience it has been.

“I work as an equality, diversity and inclusion consultant so there was a few misconceptions I had around pageants and what they meant, but I thought if I’m going to have a judgement about something I’ve got to try it.”

Ms Phillips said the competition had given her a platform to continue campaigning for women’s safety and said an early round which included taking part in a photo shoot without make-up had also been a positive experience.

She said: “This generation is so infatuated with social media so to have a bunch of twenty-somethings and teenage girls all there with no make up and no filter felt refreshing because everything is recut and filtered now.”

The semi-finals for Miss England take place in August.

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