A medical student from Crickhowell has walked away with the Miss Earth Wales title and will now go on to represent Wales at the grand slam competition in Vietnam, later this year. Carys Harvard, 20, was named Miss Earth Wales at a prestigious ceremony in Pontyclun, last month.

The purpose behind the Miss Earth pageants is to have its candidates and winners actively promote and get involved in the preservation of the environment and the protection of Mother Earth.

Apart from a strong emphasis on environmental protection programs, Miss Earth also strives to showcase and promote various tourist destinations.

This year, the 114 delegates from all over the world will compete for the title of Miss Earth in Vietnam demonstrating beauty and knowledge of environmental issues. The overall winner of Miss Earth will then go onto serve as the Ambassador to environmental protection campaigns worldwide.

Born and raised in Crickhowell, Carys lived a world away from pageantry; spending much of her childhood either outdoors at her grandparents’ farm in Llanbedr or in the swimming pool as a competitive swimmer

However, her sporting aspirations were halted by a serious respiratory condition, which was causing her to faint in the water; this was later identified as laryngomalacia. Since her diagnosis, Carys has become a strong advocate for invisible illnesses, prompting her down the medical field.

Her passion and dedication to creating a healthier and greener world is what propelled her into applying for Miss Earth Wales.

Carys said: “After my first pageant (Miss Wales), I went away and worked on myself and my platform over the last year and a half whilst volunteering my time to help behind the scenes at other pageants to gain a different perspective. I knew of the Miss Earth system and had always been interested but what made me finally take that leap was the change in directorship over to Dani Latimer. She is a woman of many talents and what I like to call a pageant veteran, her latest venture being the title Ms Galaxy 2023.

“When the announcement was made that she was directing I knew whoever won the title would be an incredibly lucky girl to have her as a director.”

Beyond this, Carys also recognised how her qualities and aims aligned with the values of Miss Earth Wales.

“My experience with public health combined with my love for the planet has inspired me to promote sustainable solutions within hospitals and clinics.”

The competition was a strenuous process that involved four scored rounds, equally weighted at 25%. The judging panel was made up of four heavy hitters in the pageant industry: Yasmine Alley (Miss Earth Wales 2014) - Sophie Anne Betteridge (Miss Earth Wales 2017) - Brittany Anne Payne (Miss Earth Water 2015 and Miss Earth USA 2015) - Shani Lane (pageant Veteran and Ms Galaxy Cardiff 2023.)

Carys flourished throughout the competition, smashing the interview round before continuing to the final. All the following rounds happened runway style in front of an audience and judges. The second round was called ‘Top Model’ where each contestant was required to source a little green dress or two piece in any shade of green. Cary shared: “I was able to sustainably source my wardrobe for all of the final with my green dress only costing me £4 from Vinted. As a university student I don’t have a massive disposable income, but I also wanted to show that pageantry doesn’t need to be a hobby that costs you an arm and a leg.”

The subsequent rounds then required each girl to source swimwear and an evening gown - all in a sustainable fashion; Carys’s creativity and confidence is what earned her the coveted title.

On her crowning, Carys reflected on the incredible achievement saying: “When my name was called that evening on the 8th of October, I could see the excitement and pride on my mum and nan’s faces, they knew how hard I had worked and how much it meant to me.”

Over the course of her reign, Carys will be promoting a sustainable lifestyle and highlighting environmental issues within Wales; furthering the Miss Earth and Miss Earth Wales organisations; competing at the International final this winter; before finally entrusting the crown to the next Queen.

However, beyond all of this, Carys hopes to inspire young women and ultimately defeat the stereotype that comes with pageantry.

“I want to bust the myths about pageantry and show that beauty isn’t just skin deep.

“I want to use my platform to inspire young women to peruse what they are passionate about through higher education and that anything is possible when you work hard.

The next step for me is to do the best I can at representing Wales in Vietnam at the international finals of Miss Earth where my preparations are already well underway as I depart on November 27. This is my priority for now and then it will be ensuring that I give next year’s finalists the best welcome and time leading up to the final that will be held on the May 26.”

Applications for next year's Miss Earth Wales are already open and can be found here. For more information head to Miss Earth’s Instagram.