Donegal beauty queen Gráinne Gallanagh becomes first Irish model to walk at Miami Swim Week

Beauty queen Gráinne Gallanagh made her debut at Miami Swim Week, making her the first Irish model to feature at the event.

The 25-year-old nurse from Buncrana, Donegal, who splits her time between Ireland and London, walked in the Liliana Montoya show in Florida’s Magic City alongside a stream of seasoned catwalk models. Miami Swim Week is an off-shoot of the usual Fashion Week fare in London, New York, Milan and Paris, instead focusing on the wealth of swimwear designers featuring their collections from around the world.

It also features resort and beachwear to support the sunny climes featured. Gráinne joined a host of models, including pageant director Brittany Mason, at the Liliana Montoya show, a high-end brand which specialises in bikinis. It marked her final event during her reign as Miss Universe Ireland before the next winner is crowned later this year.

Gráinne, who is also signed with BMA Models in London, said she was honoured to represent Ireland at the finals last year.

“I can’t explain the emotions that run through your mind when your name is called as the winner of Miss Universe Ireland. The shock, disbelief, delight, excitement. This has truly been the most incredible experience of my life. I had the absolute honour of representing my country at the most prestigious pageant in the world.”

Earlier this year, she said she is an advocate for the inclusion of the swimsuit round in the Miss Universe pageant, while similar pageants like Miss World have scrapped it in recent years in a bid to modernise the competitions.

“I think that they are really trying to modernise themselves and fit with the modern woman. There is a lot more focus on who the girls are as people – their cause, their passion, what they advocate for – and a lot less about what they look like.”

“I love the swimsuit round,” she said. “I can see why people think, ‘Why is that still there?’ but I think you have to have fun with it rather than think, ‘Do I look my best?’ You have to let those worries go. Everyone still has their flaws. There are things I don’t like about myself. I don’t want to name one because I don’t want to put focus on it.”

For all the highlights from Miami Swim Week, see our gallery below:

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