‘I was literally shaking when they called my name out’

Katharine Walker pictured after winning the Miss NI Gala Final in the Europa Hotel on Monday night.
Katharine Walker pictured after winning the Miss NI Gala Final in the Europa Hotel on Monday night.

Hillsborough girl Katharine Walker has said she’s still in a state of shock after being crowned the winner of this year’s Miss Northern Ireland competition.

The 23-year-old nurse, who qualified for the grand final of the pageant by winning the Miss Horatio Todd’s title during the regional qualifying rounds, took the coveted crown on Monday night, May 28, at Belfast’s Europa Hotel.

“Today I’m starting to come down a wee bit, but I really still can’t believe it,” she told the Ulster Star

“I was just so shocked. I was literally shaking when they called my name out. I was so shocked but so thrilled. I couldn’t believe it, I still can’t.

“The whole thing was just so much fun to be a part of. It’s just such a fun and positive experience.”

Hosted by former Miss Northern Ireland and television presenter Zoe Salmon and UTV presenter Marc Mallet, the gala final of the Insanity Tan-sponsored competition saw 25 girls compete to succeed last year’s winner, Portglenone girl Anna Henry.

Having impressed the judges and taken the Miss NI 2018 title, Katharine will now go on to compete in the Miss World competition in China in December.

“Anna Henry and a few of the other former Miss NI’s have already reached out to me and said they’ll give me tips and tell me what to expect and things, so I’ll not be going into it blind which is good. I’m really looking forward to it.

“I just need to keep being myself and not get too worried about the pressure and hopefully I’ll do okay,” she said.

Despite her Miss NI success, Katharine says she isn’t planning on ditching her day job any time soon.

The former Downshire Primary and Friends’ School pupil, who works as an intensive care nurse at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, said she’s going to try to balance her nursing career with her Miss NI commitments.

“It’s quite good because I do shift work and don’t work nine to five, so I’m going to try my best to juggle the two as I don’t want to give up my job.

“I love my job and I work with such a fab team of doctors, nurses, physios and others.

“It’s such a satisfying job and to see a child that came in to us so ill get better and go home is just the best feeling in the world.”

Katharine, whose Miss NI prize package includes an all expenses paid trip to the Miss World pageant, a Fiat car and a modelling contract with Belfast-based ACA models, says she “cannot wait to dive in” to a busy year of Miss NI commitments.