This beauty queen has brains and bravery to boot.
A junior doctor in the U.K. will continue her reign as Miss England after the 2020 pageant was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The titleholder has a unique perspective amid the ongoing outbreak, as she works in her hospitals’ COVID-19 units.
Dr. Bhasha Mukherjee was crowned Miss England in August 2019, and will continue to reign until April 2021, news agency South West News Service (SWNS) reports.
The 24-year-old from Derby made headlines in April when she traded her crown for her National Health Service (NHS) stethoscope to help fight the viral disease on the front lines, following the government’s call for retired and junior doctors to join the effort. Ever since, she has been busy working hard to save lives at Boston Pilgrim Hospital and Derby Royal Hospital.
Now, Mukherjee will reportedly be the longest-serving Miss England since the competition was established 92 years ago in 1928. The healthcare hero described the position as an “honor,” acknowledging, however, it is “bittersweet” to keep her title because of the COVID-19 crisis.
“It's an honor to continue serving my country during the COVID pandemic as well as being able to do it as Miss England. There's no better time for me to be Miss England while helping England at this time of need,” Mukherjee said, according to SWNS.
"It's a shame the Miss England contest was postponed again but I'm delighted to be their longest serving winner,” she continued. “It's bittersweet in a way as the circumstances aren't ideal, it's hard to celebrate when you're seeing COVID numbers rising in your hospital.”
"We're seeing more asymptomatic patients testing positive and more people coming in for different problems who turn out to have the virus,” the junior doctor said of the “challenging time” for her hospitals.
Beyond her 12-hour shifts on the coronavirus wards, Mukherjee also works in urological surgery and keeps up with her charitable Miss England duties online, such as running a daily fitness challenge on social media.
"Juggling [work] with Miss England duties can be tricky -- but I think I've managed to find the balance,” she explained.
Pageant organizer Angie Beasley praised the young doctor as an “exceptional” Miss England during these unprecedented times.
“Bhasha Mukherjee has already been an exceptional Miss England and I'm delighted she will continue with her reign,” Beasley said. "Not only has she served her country as a NHS doctor throughout the pandemic, she has also brought a diverse feel to the contest due to her heritage which truly reflects England today.”
The national pageant’s final was bumped from July 2020 to October amid the ongoing outbreak, then pushed back again to April 2021 after Miss World announced that they would also be delaying their competition until the fall of next year.
“Hopefully the next date for the final will be third time lucky,” Beasley said of her event, and hopes that the 24 finalists will be able to compete at last.
To date, Miss England contestants have raised nearly $40,000 for the charitable Beauty with a Purpose and the We Do Ethical tree-planting pledge.
Fox News’ Melissa Roberto contributed to this report.