‘I’m on my way for my induction now!’ Newly-crowned Miss England, 23, swaps her tiara for a stethoscope as she starts her new job as a junior doctor with a 4am start hours after winning the top prize
The newly-crowned Miss England said this morning she thought she had no chance of winning the beauty pageant as she headed to her job as a junior doctor. Bhasha Mukherjee, 23, from Derby, won Miss England on Thursday evening after fending off competition from hundreds of other models.
Today, the beauty queen who has two medical degrees and speaks five languages, began a new job at Pilgrim NHS Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire just hours after she won the pageant in Newcastle last night.
Despite the competition running into the early hours, Bhasha was up to catch the 4am train so she’d make it on time.
‘It’s been quite a hectic, this week has been one with so many changes for me. I start work today and I’m supposed to be moving house to a brand new city on Sunday. It’s been really nerve wracking, I couldn’t tell if I was more nervous about the competition or about starting my job as a junior doctor’ she said on the way to work this morning.
Bhasha – who has an IQ of 146, making her officially a genius – was born in India and lived there until her family relocated to the UK when she was nine. She went onto complete two degrees: one in medical sciences and one in medicine and surgery from the University of Nottingham.
Reflecting on winning Miss England and qualifying as a doctor, she posted on Instagram today: ‘Can’t decide what’s better, having an official ID with Dr before my name or Miss England. Surreal af’
Despite heading off to most of the competitions alone, her parents said this morning they were’ so proud’ of her. Leaving behind unsanitary conditions and misogynistic attitudes, Bhasha arrived to face more difficult circumstances, including living with her entire family in one room, and being subjected to racist bullying at school.
Her father Durga Mukherjee, 57, a chef, who is separated from her mother, Mita, told the MailOnline: ‘I’m so proud of her. She has always been an amazing daughter, and I could see that she was very talented from a young age.
‘I always believed she was going to win, her heart goes into everything she does and she is creative with whatever challenge she takes on.
‘She doesn’t believe in leaving things incomplete and that’s why she has chased her career as a junior doctor as well as taking on the Miss England contest.
‘She has always loved to work and she has chased her dreams at the same time.’
Mita, 51, a retail assistant also couldn’t help gushing over her daughter: ‘She’s an incredible woman, she did a three hour train journey on her own to go and start her career as a junior doctor this morning’ she told MailOnline.
‘We couldn’t afford to give her the money for the £70 ticket, she just does everything on her own. I think that’s what makes her different and that’s what makes her a winner.
‘When we were in India, Bhasha didn’t like the school system very much because it isn’t very good there, especially for younger children, and when she started having to get the bus to school the toilets were filthy and she was once groped on the bus.
‘Attitudes to women in India aren’t great and women are subjected to some not very nice things. I could see how unhappy it was making her and I just thought I don’t want my children to have to go through this.
‘We moved to Swindon into a single room where we lived for two years because we were trying to save money, and eventually we managed to buy a house in Derby, which I think is incredible when I think about it but the house wasn’t in a great area.
‘Bhasha wasn’t one of the most popular kids at school either, it was hard for her to adjust and because she is very academic and eccentric, I think other kids didn’t understand her.
‘But it was always a pleasure to speak to her teachers because they spoke of her so highly. They were overwhelmingly positive about her, they would start crying when they spoke about her, she got really good marks – 10 A*s in her GCSEs.
‘While we were struggling with the daily lives of immigration, school became Bhasha’s respite and she used it to make something for herself. I’ll always be grateful to the teachers in this country for that.’
‘She wasn’t always such a great looker and she got bullied for that, and for being an immigrant.
‘But difficulty makes you what you are and makes you value what you have been given. It takes courage to carry on the fight and that’s what she did, she’s gone on to achieve everything she’s always wanted.
‘For me that is her greatest achievement, the fact that she carried on and kept fighting. We have been here for the last 15 years and I work in Primark.
‘Bhasha has come from a humble background but that has never stopped her aiming high.
‘When she won, I was shocked and happy all at the same time. She is deserving of the title and it’s great that they have recognised her talent and hard work and it’s very humbling for me as a mother.’
In a Instagram story posted last night, she said she was ‘still getting use to being the first British Indian Miss England’. ‘I’m very proud to be representing Miss England and Miss World’ she added. Pictured: Bhasha as a child in India
Before her 18th birthday the junior doctor and pageant winner had started taking paid modelling jobs, starring in music videos and even set up her own charitable group, The Generation Bridge Project, to combat isolation in elderly people.
Mita said: ‘We didn’t have money but she started working with make-up artists and building up all these contacts to help her. We never put her in touch with anyone, we didn’t have any contacts to be able to help her.
‘She would get up in the morning to take on jobs or auditions and then stay up late to finish her course work to become a junior doctor and it was all off her own back.
Even in the last year, Bhasha and her family have faced tough times after her parents decided to separate, but Mita commended her ‘incredible’ daughter for always following her dreams no matter what adverse circumstances she has faced.
She said: ‘Last year, my husband and I separated and it has been hard, but I think it is incredible what Bhasha has achieved despite that situation, she’s a junior doctor and now she represents England in the Miss World pageant, I couldn’t be more proud.’
Speaking of her win last night, Bhasha added: ‘When I won I couldn’t stop crying because it just felt so surreal, during the competition I didn’t feel I had any chance, there were so many competent ladies who were doing so well in every round.
‘Throughout the competition I was there by myself, I never had my family with me, I was always lugging my suitcase around on my own, in my glasses with no make up on and there were these incredible, tall girls with amazing hair and perfect make-up, I never thought I had a chance.
‘When I got to the top six, I thought okay well at least I’ve made it this far.
‘I never thought in a million years that I’d win.
‘This is a big win for a lot of young girls who are from a similar ethnic background to myself, they do need a role model and I think my story does reflect that of so many people, from when I immigrated to this country and have climbed social ladders so to speak.
‘I’m on my way to the induction day now at the hospital and I was nervous about being able to balance the title with my new job because I have worked for this for the last five years, but Miss England have been great and are going to accommodate me as much as they can.’
In a Instagram story posted last night, she said she was ‘still getting use to being the first British Indian Miss England’.
‘I’m very proud to be representing Miss England and Miss World’ she added.
Bhasha is fluent in English, Bengali, Hindi, German and French.
Throughout her studies she always wanted to be an astronaut but once she left high school, she decided to try her hand in the performing arts and eventually found her way into modelling, while at medical school.
In an emotional video shared on social media that she posted asking for votes in the competition, she wears no make-up and reveals she wants to be ‘as relatable as possible’.
She reveals how she ‘witnessed first hand the culturally and financial struggle’ of ‘uprooted’ from India where she shared one room with five people to the UK, where she lived in a terraced house in a ‘drug and crime’ heavy neighbourhood.
Bhasha also shares that she was bullied as ‘one of only three brown people’ in a ‘majority Caucasian’ school and that she was called ‘Ugly Betty’ for her ‘crooked teeth’.
‘I ate my lunch in the toilets’ she reveals, adding that she found comfort in books.
After she beat out all her classmates to get the best results in her exams at school, she went on to medical school where she suffered from anxiety and depression.
‘Everyone told me I wouldn’t be able to make time for modelling, I guess they were wrong’ she adds. ‘In a world of rich daddies and connected families, I can proudly say not one of my clients or contacts were laid out to me on a silver plate’.
‘I’ve waged my own safety and worked with perverted middle aged men, but never did I compromise my character with countless clients who made me feel worthless’ she added.
Bhasha was scouted in 2016 to compete in a pageant which aimed to increase diversity in beauty contests across the UK, before entering Miss England this year.
And the current Asian Face of Miss England 2019 graduated with a second degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Nottingham – making her officially Dr Mukherjee.
Now she hopes to use her title to inspire young girls to believe they can achieve anything and that the most important thing is not the way you look.
‘Some people might think pageant girls are airheads, but we all stand for a cause,’ she said before the contest.
‘We’re all trying to showcase to the world that actually just because we’re pretty, it doesn’t end there – we’re actually trying to use our reach and influence to do something good.
‘My pageant career all started to happen while I was in the middle of studying at medical school – it took a lot of convincing for me to do it, but eventually I decided to do it to balance out my studying and give me a break.’
She said: ‘I was always the teacher’s pet in school – I won the Einstein Award for being the smartest in my class and I was the top of my school with my GCSE results. I was a bit of a loner as a child as I was new to the country and moved about schools a lot, meaning that I was always branded the ‘new kid’. I was teased a bit for being eccentric and dramatic, but my way out was studying and competitions – I was just so passionate about learning.’
Bhasha found her way in front of a crowd after being encouraged to try performing arts.
And she doesn’t stop at being both a doctor and pageant queen, as the beauty, who is sponsored by Joggy Kang and Puneet Bhandal, even set up her own charity, The Generation Bridge Project, which combats isolation in elderly people, in 2017.
Last night she said: ‘My nerves are really high at the moment, and I have to catch a 4am train after the Miss England final just to make my induction day at the hospital. I’ve really enjoyed competing in the pageant as everyone is so lovely. One thing I’ve taken from it is a lovely group of supportive friends – we’re definitely not at each other’s throats like you’d expect, it’s all very supportive.’
As winner of Miss England, she will be entered into the Miss World contest and also won a holiday to Mauritius.
By BRIDIE PEARSON-JONES FOR MAILONLINE