Bristol forklift driver becomes first openly gay international pageant finalist

  • Watch our interview with Emma here

A forklift truck driver from Bristol has become the first openly lesbian finalist of an international pageant.

Emma-Jay Webber has just returned from the USA where she competed in the Ms World International Pageant in Florida.

As a single mother, she wanted to set the example for her children that anything is possible.

She took her two young kids Maggie and Zack to the competition and kept a video diary along the way.

Watch Emma-Jay Webber's pageant video diary

At the event, she was crowned Miss World International Woman- meaning she's the beauty queen that provides global representation in terms of diversity, body positivity, LGBTQ+ people and single mums.

Speaking after her return to the UK, she told ITV West Country: "We had our struggles and our challenges but the children really enjoyed it.

"They enjoyed meeting people from all around the world, learning about different cultures and of course jumping in the pool.

"Behind the scenes in my personal life there are many challenges and difficulties I face but doing the competition shows personal growth.

"What I've done shows that as an LGBTQ+ woman you can follow your dreams and achieve anything.

"I was in Florida as an LGBTQ+ woman- you can do anything you like regardless of your background."

Emma was a finalist in the Miss Great Britain national competition last year but is now using her international success to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues.

She said: "Representation absolutely matters. There needs to be more of it in the world. 

"Pageantry is a platform to get the message out there that women who work in male-dominated industries can be strong and beautiful at the same time. 

"To be there as a finalist is making history in itself. But to actually win it. I don't think there has been an LGBTQ individual to win any major pageant globally."