Young rugby star sets her sights on Miss England beauty pageant title

A promising rugby player is ditching the rugby boots for sparkly heels as she takes part in the Miss England pageant.

Prashika Sapkota decided to enter the competition on a whim after watching this year’s Miss England final on TV, and she has now reached the semi-finals of the competition.

But the 17-year-old isn’t giving up her sporting dreams – she wants to do both. She currently plays rugby at county level, but would love a run out for England in the future.

The teenager, from Reading, has broken her nose twice playing the sport she loves, but she’s not about to let that hold her back and doesn’t think it’ll harm her chances in the pageant.

‘I started playing rugby in Year 8 at school during PE and our team became county champions in Year 9,’ says Prashika.

‘In the first game I played in the south England’s school tournament I got a concussion which wasn’t a good start.

‘When I broke my nose the first time I was in a lot of disbelief, having thought my friends weren’t being serious when they told me I had actually broken it.

‘Then I looked at myself and it became apparent.’

Prashika had to have rhinoplasty surgery after both accidents, but she’s hoping for better luck when the semi-finals of Miss England take place in June next year.

She says it was her mum who encouraged her to take part in the Miss England contest.

‘I didn’t even think about entering until she mentioned it,’ she explains. ‘I was surprised when I got through to the next heat because I don’t have any experience.

‘I didn’t think I’d get this far – it feels crazy.

‘Being in a male-dominated environment in my hobbies and studies makes me feel empowered as a woman.’

Prashika hopes to use her platform to spread a positive message about women in sport and show that it is possible to be interested in beauty pageants and playing rugby competitively.

‘I want to show that girls can go down the same route as me and still be interested in things like Miss England,’ she says.

‘It also shows that pageant queens aren’t just pretty, they are smart and they do a lot for charities.’

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