Meet the forklift truck operator hoping to become first ever openly gay Ms Great Britain

Emma-Jay Webber is hoping to become the first openly lesbian Ms Great Britain Credit: BPM Media

A forklift truck driver who is a plus-size model is hoping to become the first openly lesbian Ms Great Britain.

Mother-of-two Emma-Jay Webber understands she will be the first openly gay finalist to proudly walk the Ms Great Britain stage since the pageant began 77 years ago.

The 40-year-old said she became the first openly lesbian queen in UK pageantry back in 2019 when she won the Miss Paragon International Crown and said that, since then, she has been giving a much-needed voice for the LGBTQ+ community.

She took up pageants in an attempt to boost her confidence Credit: BPM Media

Emma-Jay, from Cribbs Causeway in South Gloucestershire, said she has found that pageantry is a hugely 'hetero-normative' industry which is severely lacking in LGBTQ+ role models.

She said there are LGBTQ+ women in pageantry that are afraid to come out due to fear of titles being stripped away, fear of being judged differently and fear of potential homophobia.

She said: "Being a finalist for Ms Great Britain is much more than a title. I hope to represent the change and be the beacon of light for those still hidden from sight due to fears of rejection."

Ms Webber has been running two campaigns - #IAmVisible and #PageantPride - to prove that there are no barriers in becoming a modern beauty queen and that any girl, regardless of sexuality, is deserving of the crown. 

The beauty queen has previously said she got involved in pageants in 2017 as she was looking for something to improve her self-confidence.

"The competition was Miss British Beauty Curve and I came runner-up," she said. 

"I then went to represent England in the international competition and came third. That is the point I knew what pageants were about and I fell in love with it. It is so different to what people think."

The Miss Great Britain Grand Final will be held on October 21 in Leicester where more than 50 women will compete in fashion wear, swimwear, evening gown rounds, plus a panel interview where three winners will be crowned Miss, Ms & Mrs Classic Great Britain.

Last year's Miss Great Britain, Jen Atkin, came out as bisexual after her victory making her the first-ever winner to come out. 

What is the difference between Miss Great Britain and Ms Great Britain?

Miss Great Britain is for ladies aged between 18 & 30, while Ms Great Britain is open to ladies aged between 31 & 44 to enter.

There is also Ms Great Britain Classic which is for ladies aged 45 +. There is no upper age limit on Ms Great Britain classic and they currently have entries up to the age of 73.

The National Final will take place on Friday 21st October at the Athena in Leicester where 68 ladies will compete for the 3 coveted national titles.