Video: Cookstown student Leanne McDowell crowned Miss Northern Ireland 2015

Miss Northern Ireland 2015 is Leanne McDowell is from Cookstown

Miss Northern Ireland 2015 is Leanne McDowell is from Cookstown

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A Cookstown student has beaten 27 other hopefuls to clinch the title of 2015 Therapie Miss Northern Ireland.

Leanne McDowell, a past pupil of Cookstown High School, impressed a panel of judges to take the coveted crown.

A marketing undergraduate and business woman, the 19-year-old will now go on to represent Northern Ireland in the Miss World competition, rumoured to be in Australia later this year.

Still pinching herself, Leanne told the Mail: “I’m still shaking. When I woke up and had a look at the crown I thought Rebekah Shirley’s crown is now in my bedroom - it’s amazing.

“I was so pleased. I wasn’t expecting it to be me and when it was me I just dropped to the floor and burst into tears, I think it’s because I worked so hard for it and I really wanted it.

“I used to look at magazines,” she went on, “and the winner would be sitting down with the runners up behind them. I always thought ‘I want to do this someday’.”

The self confessed fashion nut said she is really looking forward to getting her teeth into the modelling contract.

“It is absolutely amazing,” she said.

“I don’t just want it to be about beauty. I want it to be about beauty with a purpose and I’m gonna show that it’s a platform and I’m going to do more charity work.

“I’m actually doing a parachute jump now for Age NI in June.”

Leanne McDowell, winner of the 2015 Therapie Miss Northern Ireland title on her first day in the job

Leanne McDowell, winner of the 2015 Therapie Miss Northern Ireland title on her first day in the job

And to fit it all in the University of Ulster student said she plans to take a year out after finishing her exams on Friday.

As well as a year’s modelling contract Leanne will also get an all-expenses paid trip to Miss World, a Therapie Ultimate VIP Package worth over £5,000 which includes their top treatments, a Fiat 500 car from Donnelly Group and a new designer wardrobe from Blush Boutique.

The runners up were 17-year-old Aimee Kirk from Eglington in second place and Amy Fry, also 17 from Ballymena who came third.

I wasn’t expecting it to be me and when it was me I just dropped to the floor and burst into tears, I think it’s because I worked so hard for it and I really wanted it - Leanne McDowell

Leanne McDowell was crowned 2015 Therapie Miss Northern Ireland at a glittering black tie event at the Europa Hotel

Leanne McDowell was crowned 2015 Therapie Miss Northern Ireland at a glittering black tie event at the Europa Hotel

Leanne McDowell is crowned Miss Northern Ireland

Leanne McDowell is crowned Miss Northern Ireland