With Zara’s father being medical professional, you could say it was likely that her destiny would be to follow their footsteps. However, her path slightly differs from her parents.

Meet Dental Surgeon Dr. Zara Nortley.

Looking into people’s mouths from Monday to Friday does not sound appealing, but the life of a dentist is so much more than what we may think.
“Dental care is both about health and aesthetics – you make such a difference to someone’s standard of living by restoring their dental health. It can be a challenge, but an enjoyable one!” 
Going to the dentist isn’t everyone’s favourite thing to do; the thought of a dentist injecting into your gums and drilling your teeth could cause the toughest person to faint, and this is one of the things Dr. Zara Nortley experiences often.
“Being a dental surgeon is as much about manual skills as strong social ones. Patients can become anxious and emotional, even tearful. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be in a caring profession, and helping people to alleviate their fear of the dentist is something that is really important to me. I particularly enjoyed Special Care Dentistry at University, and have taken further courses in basic hypnotherapy and sedation to enable me to treat very anxious clients; once my patients are able to feel comfortable, I can do my job of treating disease and restoring health.”.    
Each career brings its challenges, and when the well-being of others are involved, it requires a lot of listening, patience and positive results.
“One of my patients unexpectedly contacted me, just to say how I’ve helped her to find her self-confidence and go for the job that she always wanted, and overall, has changed her life for the better. It’s very humbling and inspirational to see how our work can affect others.”    _mg_2433
When Dr. Zara Nortley was three years old, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

“My situation is unique as my father is a doctor and noticed my symptoms very early. Despite having lived with diabetes for most of my life, I find it difficult to manage at times; it’s a condition that requires constant input, and even though I know the consequences of poor management, I find that other aspects of my life seem to take priority. Through pageantry, I discovered the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and in supporting them, and it has put my condition more to the forefront of my mind. I want to use my platform to encourage and inspire others, and I can’t do that unless I take control of my own!”
Type 1 diabetes is a condition that causes glucose levels to be high, due to the pancreas’ inability to produce insulin, which is used to move the glucose out of your blood and into your cells for energy. When someone is experiencing a diabetic episode, they may become fatigued, irritable, uncooperative, confused, suffer seizures and even lose consciousness.
“Type 1 diabetes in controlled by insulin, and a diabetic may take several injections daily to control their glucose levels. I’m often asked HOW I can do that, but if you knew the way it felt to have too much glucose in your blood, you’d find a way of managing! There have been times when my blood sugar has run very low, causing a condition called ‘hypoglycaemia’ where you can become very erratic and irritable, which can be frightening for people around you. Fortunately, I am always aware when this is happening, but many people with diabetes are less aware. This is why raising awareness about the condition is so important to me!”
I was taken aback by her calmness and attitude towards having to live with this condition; her strong character hasn’t allowed it to affect her life. This is apparent in what she has achieved so far and her drive to accomplish more.
“I want to raise the awareness of type 1 diabetes so that there will be better treatment and more knowledge for people who live with the condition. It should not stop people from living a fulfilling life and thanks to charities such as JDRF who are doing an amazing job to find improvements in care, and hopefully a cure for diabetes.”
A ballet dancer, a regular gym goer and not to mentioned recently trekking to the top of Mountain Snowdown, is no small feat!
“I’m competing in Miss Universe Great Britain on the 27th June 2015. I did that mountain trek to raise money for an excellent cause – Strongbones Children’s Charitable Trust who help families with children who suffer from conditions of the bone. 
Dr. Zara Nortley’s journey to Miss Universe Great Britain has been challenging, to say the least – raising money for charities, sacrificing her spare time to bring awareness to type 1 diabetes, as well as grueling hours in the gym. It’s clear to see that she has put in a lot of effort, time and finance into her incredible journey.
Miss Universe has received some critical feedback from many feminists’ groups. It has been said beauty pageants dehumanise women for the consumption of men and takes women a step back.
“I believe in the power of beauty pageants; they empower women all over the world! Many women enter because they have a story to tell about a battle they have faced or are currently fighting, and it’s great to have a platform from which to educate people about matters close to our hearts that affect society and fundraising for charities – We all come from different backgrounds; some of us are scientists, doctors, models, business owners and so can contribute to society in many ways.” 
Speaking to Dr. Zara Nortley, I could tell that this is more than ‘just a pageant.’ There is a powerful message behind what she’s accomplishing – to challenge all stereotypes, to encourage the next generation to pursue their dreams and live life to the fullest, irrespective of anything that may try to restrict the individual.
“Not many people know, but there has never been a black Miss Universe Great Britain. Beauty comes in all forms – shapes, sizes, and colours. I aim to represent the beauty of all British women, and this may sound cliché, but beauty does begin from within.”

Take a look below to see how you can support Dr. Zara Nortley’s journey to become Miss Universe GB. There is also more information on how to donate to the charities she is working with.



You can follow her journey here: www.facebook.com/ZaraForUGB15

Subject – Dr. Zara Nortley
Photographer & Writer – @KofiDwaah 
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