FORMER Miss England is looking for south Essex entrants for this year's competition.

Army veteran and former Miss England, Katrina Hodge, also known as Combat Barbie, will be heading down to Essex looking for girls between 16-26 to enter.

Katrina was a serving soldier decorated for bravery in Iraq when she was crowned Miss England in 2009.

She wanted to break down pageant stereotypes and even got the famous swimwear round banned back in 2010.

She said: “I entered Miss England never imagining in a million years I’d get anywhere.

"I wanted to challenge people’s stereotypes, I was often asked how I was in the forces when I was so girly. I couldn’t understand how you couldn’t be in the Army and be a beauty queen.

"Who wrote the rule book? When I entered Miss England I could barely walk in a pair of high heels, let alone on a catwalk - I was used to army boots.

"It’s such a fun event and really helps girls feel empowered and build their confidence.”

Katrina used her year as Miss England to promote the armed forces as a career to girls and to raise much needed funds for injured troops.

Now Katrina, ten years on, is organising the semi-finals and will be spending time coaching and mentoring all the girls.

The winner of Miss England will fly to Thailand for five weeks to compete in Miss World with a cash prize of $100,000 up for grabs.

This competition will take place in the theatre at Pontins Camber Sands on Sunday, June 23.

The event will see 50 girls from all over the south east compete. There will be special awards on the night, with ten girls advancing onto the grand final.

Katrina added: “I always say to girls why not just give it a go, you have nothing to lose at all.

"You do not have to be the best looking girl in your area. It isn’t all about looks.

"We are interested in hard working girls who want to make a difference and take part in a fun event.

"Who knows you could be reading this and be on our stage in June or even travelling the world this time next year.”

The competition sees 22,000 girls enter from across the country every year.

If you are aged 16-26, never been married or had children, then email to apply or nominate someone.