THE nation's new Ms Water wants to use her position to inspire people to respect the environment.

Jessica Morais, from Carterton, won the elemental title at this year's Miss Earth beauty pageant, which promotes conservation and animal protection.

The event aims to showcase the 'beauty of the world', with Ms Morais engaging in several sustainable activities before June's competition in Birmingham.

The 23-year-old model has set her sights on the similar Miss Galaxy pageant in March next year, but until then will focus on promoting green causes in her new role.

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She said: "Miss Galaxy isn’t just about beauty but being an inspiration, it’s about showing people how they can help others and the environment.

"The best thing about it all is that you get to make new friends in each pageant.

Ms Morais added: "It encourages young people to respect the environment we live in and help to change the world."

The international Miss Earth competition was founded in 2001 and launched in the UK in 2006.

It styles itself as the 'first and only international beauty pageant with an environmental advocacy', with the winner becoming an ambassador for campaigns across the world.

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Winners will help raise funds for charities and organisations under the slogan 'beauties for a cause' and work with the Miss Earth Foundation.

Its website states: "The contest is an international environmental event channelling the beauty competition in the entertainment industry as an effective tool to promote environmental awareness."

In addition to the overall winner of Miss Earth, this year's competition at the Arden Hotel, Birmingham, crowned Ms Air, Water and Fire.

It was Ms Morais's first pageant and she did not expect to win, but admits she has already surprised herself in her short career.

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She said: "When I started out as a model, I didn't think I would get far due to my height of 5ft 3in.

"But I soon realised I could get far and managed to get signed with two different model agencies as a petit model, which was amazing."

Witney Gazette:

Ms Morais had been in the industry for just four months when the pageant came around, but found time to raise awareness of environmental campaigns and schemes closer to home beforehand.

She spent several hours picking litter, donated clothes to African communities and raised £200 for Oxford Children's Hospital at Aldi in Carterton.

Ms Morais is now hoping to take part in the annual Great Big Hospital Abseil at the John Radcliffe in Oxford next month.

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The model is sponsored by Akiport Cafe in Oxford's Abingdon Road and will have the backing of Indian restaurant Millenium Balti at Miss Galaxy.

The curry house in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, is running a campaign to raise awareness of plastic pollution and bullying, with Ms Morais one of its ambassadors.

She said: "We want to encourage people to recycle more and reuse plastic items if possible, as plastic affects every animal creature on this earth.

"We also want to encourage people to understand the effects of bullying and how they can overcome this by becoming stronger every single day and stop listening to the bad comments."