A 19-YEAR-OLD medical student from Crickhowell is in the running to be crowned Miss Wales 2022.

Carys Havard will compete against 22 young women from across Wales in the three-day final, culminating in a catwalk show due to be held at The Riverfront in Newport on Sunday, May 8.

The first-year student, who is a former pupil of Crickhowell High School is taking part in her first competition of this kind.

“This sort of event is totally out of character for me and my family were very surprised at me entering,” she said.

“But reading about all the charity work that Miss Wales do - I thought it was an amazing opportunity.”

Miss Wales is the Welsh qualifier for Miss World – the largest and longest-running pageant on the planet.

The competition is dedicated to empowering young women and fundraising for the Miss World charity, Beauty With A Purpose, which helps disadvantaged children worldwide.

As well as the catwalk show, the three days will include an empowerment day designed to help the finalists grow in confidence, as well a charity ball to raise funds for underprivileged children in Wales.

Carys, who is currently pursuing her childhood dream to becoming a doctor, is using her Miss Wales platform to raise the issue of the disparity in opportunities for children in rural Welsh areas - something she feels very passionately about.

“My reason for entering the competition is to work closer with my community and to raise awareness of the lack of opportunities that children in rural Wales have when it comes to accessing higher education compared to those from densely populated areas,” she said.

“So far to help overcome this issue I have been working with my local high school to host workshops for students hoping to access higher education, in particular those who want to pursue a career in medicine.”

As well as also working closely with the high school and Crickhowell Rotary Club, Carys has undergone training through Women’s Aid, and become an ambassador for the charity.

Carys said: “The Miss Wales competition has given me the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and has helped me gain confidence and to stand up for what I believe in - and meet many amazing likeminded young women along the way.”

In addition to supporting Beauty With a Purpose, Carys is also a member of the We Are Donors charity, as is undertaking training where she will be able to talk to children about blood and organ donation.

Carys is being sponsored by two local companies - HW Watkins and Tregunter Motors - who have been and continue to be very supportive of her journey.

“As a woman in STEM, I recognise the lack of educational opportunities and experiences offered to young people in rural areas,” Carys added.

“I aim to become a role model empowering young Welsh women to believe that they can achieve their aspirations.

“Being a Miss Wales finalist has helped hugely with my confidence and given me the opportunity to work closer with my community.”