Tell us a little bit about who you are and your background.
My name is Megan and I am currently a university student studying law in England. In 2017, I founded my own non-profit project where I do makeup artistry to empower women, and 100% of funds go to various charities close to my heart. Some things I love include Pilates, all things Disney, Italian food and travelling the world. I am also a pageant girl and I have competed in the Miss England competition for the past two years. I hope to become a solicitor in commercial or property law but for now, I work as an events manager and party princess. My goal is to make an impact and ultimately, to help others.
What is your story?
I was born in Paris, France and moved to the UK with my mother when I was three years old. Growing up, I adored learning (and still do), but always felt like the ‘odd one out’ when it came to my peers. I was terribly quiet and shy and I never quite fitted in, which really took a toll on my confidence and self-esteem.
In 2015, I finished high school and my mum told me that we were going to be moving closer to London. At first, I was upset, but I soon realised that this was a chance to start fresh and reinvent myself in a new area.
On the first day of my new school, I wore something that I would have normally been far too self-conscious to even consider leaving the house in. However, things were different at this school. Everybody was so nice and there was a really positive support system in place. At first, my newly-found confident persona was admittedly a bit of an act, but over time became the truth! My peers were not worried about what I wore; instead, they were racing to pass their driving tests and finish their university applications first.
At this point, I had not even considered going to university, let alone thought about pursuing a law degree! However, I just wanted to fit in again, so I began saying yes to everything, including applying for a place at university (and I got in!). I hung out with new friends, visited the big city, went to parties etc. At the end of the academic year, I even applied to become Head Girl of my new school! Whilst I did not get the role, I was instead offered the position of Head of House. This role also provided me with my first charitable involvements – I became an ambassador for both the Teenage Cancer Trust and the Children’s Trust. I was over the moon!
After this, I then started to gain independence in other areas. I got a part-time job at a theme park shop and saved up to buy my first little car (which I still have and love dearly). My retail job then became a marketing job, and that food-marketing job transformed into a technology-marketing job. One day, the event manager on our campaign was absent and I stepped in to cover the position. I was incredibly nervous, but I did it! As a result, I am still an event manager today, working with the same brand and also hosting events for a speed-dating company – I love it!
Then, at eighteen, I was introduced to the wonderful world of pageantry, and the Miss England contest in particular. When people hear about pageants, Toddlers and Tiaras and “world peace” often come to mind, but I cannot stress enough that they are so much more than this today! They taught me to be well-rounded: to present myself professionally, to be confident, charitable, networking – the list goes on! I also learnt many business skills and self-marketing strategies from various brand deals and sponsorships. I was also sponsored by Chris Nieves at Empower Mental Training, which was an amazing addition to my confidence journey. They provide training to help contestants perform to their optimum ability and many techniques I still use today. When I first entered Miss England, I was unprepared and did not get very far in the competition at all. However, last year, with Chris’ help and a lot of hard work, I made national finals and placed in the top 25 out of 22,000 entrants! This was a huge achievement for me. To fundraise for the competition, I set up my non-profit project, ‘Makeup by Meg’, which has now raised over £2,500 for charity.
Today, I am pleased to describe myself as a future lawyer, non-profit founder, event manager and (sort of) beauty queen. I would never imagine myself saying any of this just five years ago! The journey was not easy, but it was so worth it.
You experienced a pivotal moment in your life when you moved closer to London in 2015, how did that move change your life? What did you learn from the experience?
I think that moving to London changed my life primarily due to the people I was surrounded by. My peers at school were full of ambition and positivity and there was a really positive support system in place. By being around good people, I learnt to say yes to everything and to walk through ever door of opportunity that presented itself to me. This is a lesson that I live my life by now.
During your first time applying to a university you were faced with an obstacle, how did you overcome that? What did you learn from it?
I was accepted into university to study law – an absolute dream! However, reality hit when I completely missed out on a grade. I was heartbroken and thought that it was all over. However, I had put so much hard work into this goal that I simply kept pushing – I had nothing to lose anyway! After calling around forty different universities across England, I was left with two choices: I could either go to university for four years rather than three or stay behind for one year in school. I am so glad that I chose to go to university; I am a huge believer in everything happening for a reason and it was my best choice to date. This extra year entailed me taking something called a ‘foundation degree’, which is effectively a mini degree that is equivalent to the grade I had missed. During this time, I learnt many basic legal principles, which eased me in gently and bridged the gap between school and university for me. I excelled in this year and received the highest possible grade. Also, the basic principles that I learnt meant that I have already covered many upcoming topics in the qualifying law degree that I am now doing at a different university.
How did going out of your comfort zone, and saying yes to opportunities impact your life?
Going out of my comfort zone and saying yes to new opportunities changed everything for me. For example, saying yes to new friends meant saying yes to a party, which meant meeting my now-boyfriend of three and a half years. Also, agreeing to opportunities for growth at work lead to getting promotions at work at a young age. It also gave me the confidence to apply for super fun jobs like party-princessing, even though I have no formal acting or singing experience! Overall, this attitude to life allowed me to grow and always provides me with interesting points of conversation. Even if you say yes to something and the result does not quite go as expected, the experience is still extremely valuable because you always learn a lesson!
You have several avenues for expressing your creativity, how do you balance and find time for it all?
I manage and balance my various interests through two methods: a solid routine and a (pink, sparkly) journal. I plan out what I would like to achieve at the start of each day, and I then write down what I actually achieve at the end of the day, thus providing me with structure and allowing me to reflect and feel proud. I also ensure that I have an equal amount of ‘academic’, ‘productive’ and ‘creative’ goals. My creative goal might just be some baking or mindfulness colouring, but each of these, in turn, keep me feeling well-rounded and satisfied. It is important to allocate time for the little things because self-care puts you in the best position for the ‘bigger’ things in life.
What motivates and inspires you in life to keep moving forward even if faced with an obstacle?
There are a few different things which motivate and inspire me to keep moving forward.
Firstly, when I entered Miss England last year, I came across Empower Mental Training, who ended up being kind enough to support and sponsor my entry into the competition. They seek to empower athletes, performers, and pageant contestants with the mental skills needed to reach peak performance. I had one-on-one video training sessions with Chris during the competition and continue to carry so many of these skills into all aspects of my life.
I also love creating inspiration boards. For my law exams this year, I created an outrageously sparkly Elle Woods board, filled with sassy lawyer quotes and pictures of my dream house. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really does help to look up to something like this above my drab desk mid-exam!
Finally, something else that also motivates me is simply perspective. During times of doubt, it is important to look at the bigger picture. For example, when I did not get the grade I wanted, I reminded myself to try to be grateful for having an education at all, for the roof over my head, the food in my fridge etc. Perspective is everything. This is not to say that feelings of worry are not valid – feelings like this are natural and should always be treated that way.
Five years ago did you expect to be where you are at in life today? What do you know now that you wish you knew back then?
I did not at all expect to be where I am in life today five years ago. Back then, I wish that I knew how good it feels to challenge yourself, push boundaries and succeed. Growing up, I thought that a career in law was simply out of my league. However, if you work hard enough, attending university and pursuing a legal career is accessible and insanely rewarding. I also wish that I knew how to stand up for myself. Throughout high school, I was so impressionable that I would soak up every word that everybody said like a sponge. I wish I knew that reinstating boundaries and standing out was far ‘cooler’ than miserably fitting in. I embrace my extravagance today!
You have three pieces of wisdom that you live by, what are those?
1. Everything happens for a reason, but not by chance
I am a strong believer in everything having a purpose in life, but it is also important to take accountability and recognise that these great things are down to your actions! For example, when I visited Orlando last summer, I had the holiday of my dreams. It upset me when people kept saying “wow, you’re so lucky!”, when in reality, I had worked three jobs alongside my academic studies and 12-hour days in summer, plus my boyfriend had spent so much time researching to refine every little detail. Create your own success and be proud of what you achieve!
2. Be creative
It is so important to see the fun side to life and try to do things differently. Not only will you stand out from the crowd, but you will also find that you will attract so many unique opportunities! This spring, I entered a social media competition and decided to create an Elle Woods inspired video (being the very extra person that I am). Looking back, the video was painfully cringey and I probably had a few confused / concerned followers. However, I knew that social media was my strength having done a few brand deals through my involvement with pageants, and that I might actually have a shot at winning. One month and one thousand views later, I won the competition and was awarded the amazing opportunity to work at a top law firm! Being bold and doing things differently makes your personality shine. I did not embarrass myself – I identified my skills and took advantage of them in an extremely competitive field.
3. Seize every opportunity
Julia, the wonderful founder of Simply Unstoppable, introduced me to a new phrase recently – ‘multipotentialite’. A multipotentialite is somebody who has many different interests in many paths and pursues all of them, either sequentially or simultaneously. This is definitely a word that I would use to describe myself. I have so many interests and lifelong ambitions, from being a top commercial lawyer to performing in the West End. I used to think that this was a bad thing because I could not select one path to follow or one box to fit into, like society and school often pressures us to. But in reality, having multiple passions and goals is a talent and means that I can expose myself to a diverse range of opportunities. I would advise everybody to get out of their comfort zone, put societies pressures aside and simply say yes to something new and exciting (provided that they have done their research of course). What’s the worst that could happen?
What does being Simply Unstoppable mean to you?
For me, being Simply Unstoppable means recognising challenges, accepting them, and making the conscious decision to overcome them. When you do this several times, you gain confidence and valuable experience, which ultimately makes you stronger!
How can readers get in contact with you to continue this conversation?
Feel free to follow my Instagram and drop me a message on @megstagramz!