A WEST Devon launderette worker has shone in an international US pageant showing off her skills, personality, creativity, fashion sense and community kindness.

Heather-Louise Hughes UK costume.jpg
Heather-Louise Hughes UK costume.jpg (Pure Pageants)

Heather-Louise Hughes, 30, who works in Tavistock and lives near Okehampton, won the hearts of the judges for the US-based Pure International Pageants organisation through her work for those in food poverty in Tavistock by supporting the food hub.

She reached the worldwide competition in Orlando, Florida, through the UK competition earlier this year. She came 18th in her age category in the US and won various categories. She modelled various clothing styles, showed off calligraphy skills writing the Lord’s Prayer in Welsh (she has Welsh roots), played the clarinet from a piece from the musical Les Miserables, won a sewing contest making a toy for her daughter Scartlett (age four) and proved her sales skills by selling advertising in a competition event programme.

Heather was also chosen to be a model in New York, but cannot afford the trip. She credits the competition with boosting her self-confidence: “I’m really pleased at how I did in the competition. But the main achievement for me is my personal development. The contest is aimed at enabling women to make the most of themselves and to recognise and encourage self-help and to help others in their home communities. I have been helping people in Tavistock who have problems affording to feed themselves.

“I have also benefited through growing my self-confidence just by showing myself and the judges what I can achieve through realising my potential. People who know me have said I’ve come along way in becoming a more outgoing and confident person. At work I am now happier to deal with customers face-to-face.”