‘I think it’s important to remind yourself of what a real body looks like’ - Miss Great Britain Belfast finalist Molly Burns

Ahead of the Miss Great Britain Belfast final, Sophie Clarke chats to finalist Molly Burns about shaking up traditional beauty standards and the importance of self love and body positivity

Molly Burns
Miss Great Britain Belfast finalist Molly Burns

STYLED in a white jumper with red love hearts dotted over it, Miss Great Britain Belfast finalist Molly Burns looks like the personification of self-love as we catch up over an iced latte.

“I needed this,” she laughs as she describes how she is currently juggling pageant preparation with her full-time role at PwC and moving from her native Antrim to Belfast.

Curvaceous and sporting several tattoos Molly (22) may not be your stereotypical pageant participant, but she is determined to break the mould.

“This is the first year Miss Great Britain has done a live heat in Belfast,” she explains.

“I had seen some of the other girls apply and be selected and I thought it looked really cool but I had this preconceived idea of what a pageant was and didn’t really think it was for me.”

Prior to participating in the pageant Molly set up a TikTok and Instagram account which both aim to promote body positivity and self-love.


TUESDAY MORNIN CHAT 🫶🏻 long one today, talking all things in the lead up to the @Miss Great Britain Belfast Final and everything i got up to last week! Very exciting things going on and just feeling so positive and good vubes for the week ahead 🤍 #tuesdaymorninchat #catchup #bodypositivity #inspirational #ni #belfast #northernireland #busyweek #curvemodel #plussizemodel #curvytiktok #plussize #influencer

♬ original sound - Molly Burns

“Starting on social media was something I always wanted to do.

“Growing up there weren’t a lot of plus-sized people to look up to, so I thought if I could post about my experience of being curvy and plus-size then that might help someone else out there.

“I think it’s important to remind yourself of what a real body looks like because there’s so much content out there that’s really misleading.

“That toxic early-2000s’ idea of being super-skinny is coming back round again which was quite disheartening.

“I thought we were finally getting to a stage where beauty standards weren’t a trend, and everyone was just who they were, but I think there’s still a way to go and I think to get to that point we need to see more representation of different body types.”

Molly Burns
Molly also modelled for multiple beauty and clothing brands including activewear company Vixn who are her sponsor for the pageant

So far Molly has built up a loyal following across her platforms and has amassed thousands of likes due her honest and positive approach to plus-sized fashion and beauty.

She’s also appeared as a guest on Q Radio’s Girl Talk with Jordan Arnold and delivered a talk to Year 11s on body image at Antrim Grammar School - her alma mater as well as this writer’s...

“After speaking at the school, I had a lot of the girls who were listening to the talk follow me and reach out to tell me I’d helped them feel better about their bodies which is was amazing to hear,” says Molly.

“My platform has grown quite a lot in a small space of time but I’m very much about quality over quantity.

“So even though I don’t have an insane number of followers the people who are following me are all people who genuinely love what I’m doing and want to be part of it.

“As long as someone is getting something out of it, I don’t care about anything else.”

Molly has also modelled for multiple beauty and clothing brands including activewear company Vixn who are acting as her sponsor for the pageant.

Molly Burns
It’s not just the backing of her sponsor Molly has behind her as since being announced as a Miss Great Britain Belfast finalist she says the support from the people of Antrim “has been crazy"

“They’re a female-owned brand and are all about female empowerment and they go up to a two or three XL in a lot of their products, so for them to be able to sponsor me was unbelievable.

“I actually cried when they agreed to do it because having someone who literally doesn’t know you be so invested in supporting you is incredible.”

In addition to Vixn’s backing Molly says the support she’s received from the people of Antrim “has been crazy” since she was announced as a finalist, from random strangers reaching out on social media to congratulate her to others turning up to support her ‘Bingo Loco’ style fundraiser for Cancer Research UK.

“There’s a strong charity element to the pageant so in addition to organising Bingo Loco I also took part in the Race for Life event in May along with my friends and family.

“And the support from people in Antrim, that I don’t even know, has been fantastic.

“There’s definitely a sense of small-town pride,” she laughs.

“I’ve done a lot of crying but good crying – happy tears.”

The Miss Great Britain Belfast final will take place on Sunday June 9 at The Merchant Hotel.

Molly and the other finalists will take part in an opening dance routine, a one-to-one interview where they’ll have two minutes to explain why they should win, followed by three onstage rounds.

“People think that you just show up and you walk, and you put a dress on and that’s it.

“I was guilty of thinking that way before I entered,” she admits.

“I assumed pageants weren’t for women like me who are plus-size and significantly tattooed but that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

“Some of the girls I’m competing with are advocates for very important charities and a lot of them have been through their own battles and tough times.

“It’s not what I expected it to be it’s so much more and it’s such an empowering and uplifting community to be a part of.”

Competing in Miss Great Britain has also helped Molly realise how far she’s come in relation to her own self love and body positivity.

Molly Burns
Molly is a passionate advocate for awareness, guidance and support for young people struggling with their body image

“I went to Slimming World at 12 years old because I was getting bullied and I thought I needed to be skinny to be liked,” she says.

“I would’ve spent nights upon nights crying over it but sitting here now that feels like such a foreign experience.

“I used to spend all my time crying alone in my room and now I’m a Miss Great Britain Belfast finalist… it just goes to show how unexpected life is.”

When asked what advice she would give to her younger self, Molly says: “I really want to give her a hug.

“I want to tell her to focus on what she wants rather than what other people think. When I was at school I held other people’s opinions in such high regard that I was bending over backwards and changing who I was for them.

Molly Burns
Miss Great Britain Belfast finalist Molly Burns

“I’ve realised now that your own opinion has to come first above everyone else’s.

“Once you get to that stage, you’ll be able to do so much more with your life.”

Molly also emphasises how important her inner circle has been in helping her love herself and grow in confidence, especially her mum Claire and best friend Jodie.

“I wish I’d spoken to my mum sooner when I was younger because she’s been amazing, she’s one my best friends and I know she would’ve helped me so much if I’d have just spoken to her.

“So I think I’d tell younger Molly that it gets better, give her a wee hug, tell her to talk to her mum, keep talking to Jodie and hold her own opinion above everyone else’s.”