AN OXFORD Brookes student and Miss England semi-finalist has been supporting a domestic abuse charity, having previously been a victim herself.

Alex Evangelou-Shingler, 23, has been helping Elle for Elle after finishing her first year at the university.

Unknown to many, a big part of the beauty pageant is aiding charities with their work, something Miss Evangelou-Shingler said she was keen to do.

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She said: “The organisers of Miss England came to us all and told us to work with charities and help promote them.

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“With Elle for Elle, as soon as I saw it I fell in love with it because it helps give a woman’s confidence back.

“They go into safe houses and help women of domestic abuse, who often have nothing after leaving their lives behind.

“Little things like face masks and face creams help give them a confidence boost.

“I got in touch with Co-op and they agreed to help me out and I was able to go in store and grab a big basket of care items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps, sanitary products and make-up.

“It’s good to help those who were in my situation.”

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As a child and young teen, Miss Evangelou-Shingler was exposed to violence and abuse from a family member.

They would lock her outside on cold nights and force her to watch recreational drugs being taken.

She said that person – who married into the family – broke her confidence and self-esteem.

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Aged 20, she then endured a 'toxic' relationship where what she wore was controlled and she was stopped from seeing friends and family.

She said her former partner would check her phone and had control over her social media accounts.

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Thankfully, that is now all in the past as the Miss Midlands finalist – ‘born and bred’ in Birmingham – is now studying social work at Brookes.

“It was really different for me going from the second biggest city to little old Oxford, however I really enjoy it and everyone is really nice down here,” she said.

“I’ve thoroughly loved studying here and I recently got a 2:1 on my law exam which is great.

“I’ve done a week of placement at the John Radcliffe Hospital helping the elderly, which was a different thing to see but it reminded me of why I’m studying this.”

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Speaking about how she got involved with Miss England, she said: “I did it back in 2018 after I saw an advert on Facebook.

“I thought I’d try it and then I became a finalist in Miss Birmingham.

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“Then recently, I decided to reapply.

“There’s a stigma surrounding beauty pageants, people think it’s going about in bikinis but it’s not like that, there’s a lot of charity work involved.

“I love the community of it and and helping groups like Elle for Elle.”