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Former Miss UK and Christian singer Natasha Hemings on tour with Aled Jones and Russell Watson | music | entertainment

Women’s rights advocate Natasha Hemmings says beliefs that beauty pageants are demeaning to women are outdated (Photo: Julian Hamilton)

She’s a Christian former beauty queen who entered her first pageant – and found her faith – after brutal bullying at school. A classically trained singer-songwriter who isn’t afraid to speak about her religious beliefs. With supermodel looks and a voice to die for, Natasha Hemmings will make you reevaluate your expectations of who the modern beauty queen is.

She studied at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music 14 years ago and performed Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” in the talent round of the Miss England competition.

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After being crowned Miss England in 2015 at the age of 19, she put her university degree on hold for a year as an ambassador. And, having recently completed a series of shows with Ronan Keating, she’s now in the midst of a 21-date nationwide tour with classic powerhouse duo Aled Jones and Russell Watson.

“Aled and Russell are so lovely and I learned so much from them on the last tour we did together in 2019 – from how to interact with the audience to what to ask for at a soundcheck,” she explains.

“We built a really strong friendship and I also became good friends with Russell’s daughter, Becky, who also came on tour. You really need people in your corner.”

“When they announced they were touring again, post-Covid, Aled called and told me they’d like to take me back.

“I’m so excited. Christmas is such a special time of the year, and it’s especially magical for me as a Christian to share the true meaning. I hope to bring everyone together singing our favorite holiday songs and remembering our blessings at this time.”

Natasha, 26, from Nantwich, Cheshire, found her faith after her first major breakup at the age of 17.

“He was my first love and he was a very popular guy. Unfortunately, he took the whole school with him and my friends dropped me,” she says.

“I felt so isolated and everyone turned their backs on me. I was at an age where I thought I was supposed to be an adult, but I didn’t know how.”

After a very bad bout of bullying, I walked out the school gates into a nearby church. “I was crying and the people there started praying with me,” she continues.

“When I was younger, I had a friend who was always throwing seeds of faith, and suddenly all these things she said occurred to me. I tried talking to God for the first time and quickly became addicted. Very anxious. I had always read Christian blessing books. But suddenly I had all This hope. I felt that even if I was alone, I was no longer alone.”

One day while praying in her room, she felt a “presence” near her.

“He was like shade, warm, and sat on my bed. I couldn’t see a face, but I knew it was Jesus. And it hasn’t happened since. I know it was real, and I would love to have an experience like that again.”

Unfortunately, when she went to university, Natasha again found herself estranged from her peers and again bullied.

It was then that her concerned mother made a drastic decision and Natasha entered the Miss Cheshire pageant in a desperate attempt to help her depressed daughter make new friends.

“I wasn’t thinking of entering a beauty pageant, but I was lonely at university and struggled to make new friends,” Natasha says today. “I was living far from home, I wasn’t attending lectures and I was feeling very uncomfortable.”

Her mother’s well-meaning plan to keep her at university backfires spectacularly when Natasha wins, as does when she automatically qualifies for Miss England and wins that too.

“I never expected to win and when I did, let’s say I didn’t make a lot of new friends. Again, I ended up feeling a little isolated,” Natasha explains.

“Judgement of your beauty is such a small part of pageants these days, but I find a lot of people judge me for doing it. People would think I was a model who woke up one day and decided to be a singer. I don’t know I’ve been training since I was 9.” My age.I find it really sad that other women can judge us for doing something.

“If you win a beauty title, people realize your life is perfect. Social media does, too. But we need to be more realistic and share the reality in the world of young girls growing up in the shadow of the Kardashians.”

“This is also a big part of being a Christian — setting an example of being an authentic person.”

Natasha did not grow up in a religious family, and a few of her friends are Christians.

She says that there are few young people in her church. Meeting Aled Jones was an inspiration.

“It’s really cool that Aled has spoken out about his faith, and I really welcome the discussion. I’m really interested in finding out why people believe what they believe,” she says.

“Although I was conceived as a child, I did not know much about God and did not understand that you could have a relationship with Him at this moment.

“I didn’t know anything. My faith has made me a more understanding person, and the friends I made through my faith are true friends.”

She is currently working on her third album. With the working title Grace, it’s the first to be based on faith.

“When I’m not on tour, I go to my local church near my home in Cheshire, and always pray before bed.

“It’s a way of saying thank you. I also pray before I go on stage so I’m in regular conversation with God.”

Some of these experiences inevitably found their way into her second album, Invisible.

“Every song was inspired by moments throughout my life,” she explains.

In today’s world everyone is creating an ‘ideal’ version of themselves on social media and the real person is ‘invisible’.

“It seems that no one can be truly happy when they pretend to be someone else—afraid they won’t be loved and accepted for who they are.”

Today Natasha is now determined to fight stereotypes. “When I was Miss England, there was a feminist-versus-the-pageant documentary that said Miss England was stuffy and outdated and demeaning to women,” she says.

“But it’s really important to me to get the message across that it doesn’t make you any less feminist if you want to wear a dress or embrace your feminine side.

“We shouldn’t have to dress like men to be taken seriously. It was a big deal, and I say that, and I think it hopefully changes the perception of what people think it means to be a feminist.”

Natasha has a twin brother, as well as two half-brothers and a half-sister, after her mother married the man she called “dad” since she was six.

She says, “I don’t know the father I gave birth to.” “I know there are other children on my father’s side, but he will not allow me any contact with them or my grandparents.

“It’s hard because he lives in the local area, but I don’t want anyone in my life who doesn’t want to be there.”

Her stepfather, Bunny, has admirably filled the gap in her life with devoted care and support.

“My mum and dad were always there for me. They pushed me through music school and all the charity things I had to do when I was Miss England.”

She also finds love in the form of Charlie, a salesman and boyfriend of eight years, who supports her on tour.

“I like to try to connect with my audience, and on tour I’ll talk about the songs I sing. Amazing Grace is my favorite. It’s a really important song to me as a Christian.

“It’s an old song, and there’s something magical about it. It reveals the beauty of music, hope and faith.”

Natasha Hemings seems to be its living embodiment.

  • Natasha is a special guest on Aled Jones and Russell Watson’s Nationwide Christmas Tour. For more information and tickets, visit axs.com