A law student who is competing to be crowned the next Miss England has been dubbed the real-life Legally Blonde.
Francesca Crossley, 25, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, works as a paralegal and is training to become a corporate lawyer when she graduates with her master's degree at the end of the year.
Her colleagues have compared her to Reese Witherspoon’s character Elle Wood in the 2001 romcom after she reached the semi-finals of Miss England.
The University of Law student says she likes to base herself on the ditsy sorority queen, who defied stereotypes and critics to graduate top of her law class.
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Crossley also had to overcome bullying as a child after she was made to feel she wasn't pretty enough to ever walk a catwalk.
Cruel classmates would brand her "ugly" and say she looked like a "rat", but she proved them wrong after becoming a model at 18 and now a beauty queen.
Crossley says she has her sights set on the Miss England crown and will compete in the semi-finals in October.
“I've dabbled in modelling before but this is my first time entering Miss England," she says.
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The law student says she "stumbled into" the pageant after initially spotting an advert for the competition.
"I thought why not give it a go, it looks fun," she explains.
“With me working in law, I'd like to think it breaks the stigma of being dim. Everyone assumes you’re dim or an airhead.
"It is important to show intellectual women enter this pageant. It shows you can heave both beauty and brains."
Crossley says lots of people have made the Legally Blonde comparison.
"All my friends and me are blonde so we do refer to each other as Legally Blondes," she explains. "She [Elle Wood] was stereotyped to be a dumb blonde too.
“I graduated with a degree in law back in 2020 from the University of Gloucester and I'm currently doing a masters.
“I enjoy the aspect of being able to solve problems for people, building relationships and helping them out."
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Crossley was inspired to enter the pageant after reading about the current Miss England winner, Jessica Gagen, and how the competition was based on more than just looks.
"I saw an article about the current Miss England and it pointed out all her achievements, not just the fact that she’s Miss England," she explains.
“It just spoke to me. They care about your personality and looks too," she continues.
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The Miss England semi-finals are being held at Viva Blackpool in October and Francesca is hopeful about making the next round.
“You just have to hope for the best in these situations," she says. "Everyone is beautiful but ambitious. I'd like to think I've got a fair shout.”
For further details about the competition visit www.missengland.info.
Additional reporting SWNS.