Rocket scientist who was bullied for hair colour crowned Miss Lancashire 2022

·2-min read
Jessica Gagen. (Photo: Flawless Photographic of Manchester)
Jessica Gagen. (Photo: Flawless Photographic of Manchester)

A woman who was bullied at school for her hair colour has been named Miss Lancashire 2022.

Jessica Gagen, originally from Skelmersdale, has retained the title after winning in 2021.

Now Jessica, who is studying for an integrated master's degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Liverpool, will take part in the Miss England final.

Jessica, 26, said she is “overjoyed” to have been awarded the Miss Lancashire title.

She said: “This little sash not only qualifies me for this year’s Miss England final, but allows me to further reach out to teen girls who may otherwise go uninformed about the fabulous opportunities available to them in engineering and aviation careers.

“Empowerment, education and resilience.

“Redheads, we’re one step closer.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Jessica Gagen. (Photo: Flawless Photographic of Manchester)
Lancashire Telegraph: Jessica Gagen. (Photo: Flawless Photographic of Manchester)

Jessica Gagen. (Photo: Flawless Photographic of Manchester)

At school, Jessica says she was punched, spat at and even burned because of her red locks, and was tormented by cruel classmates when she was a teenager.

She was also subjected to name-calling, having things thrown at her head and was forced to eat her school dinner in the toilets in a bid to escape the abuse.

Now, Jessica has overcome adversity and is extremely passionate about showcasing engineering careers to girls.

She visits schools, attends events, features on podcasts and creates content to help school girls realise the potential the subject holds for them.

Outside of her degree, Jessica is also an internationally signed fashion model, and has worked for brands including Matalan, Grazia Magazine and Boohoo across the UK, Europe and Middle East.

Jessica now wants to be the first redheaded woman to win Miss England, after losing to Rehema Muthamia in 2021, and use her platform to promote Women in Stem.

Speaking on Instagram in April, Jessica said: “There has never been a ginger Miss England, and there might never be a ginger Miss England - but I am happy to be the person to stand in the face of defeat once more if it means I can empower redheads being bullied in school for their hair colour along the way.”

One of the contestant judges said: “It was an honour to welcome such inspiring and confident ladies into our studios.

“We congratulate the winners and wish them every success in Miss England 22.”

All the contestants were gifted with a VIP photoshoot and makeover plus one complimentary digital image and a canvas for each winner.

Jess will be competing in the Miss England national final on October 17 at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre in Coventry.