NINE women from Gwent are in the running to be crowned this year’s Miss Wales, including a Blackwood woman.

Nia Parsons, an 18-year-old ballet student, is the only contestant from Caerphilly county borough this year and is hoping she will be crowned Miss Wales 2018.

Miss Parsons said: "“I am currently in my second year at Ballet West. Ballet West is a ballet school that offers a Bachelor of Arts degree course in dance performance and is located near Oban, Argyle in Scotland.

“I have always wanted to become a professional dancer and I am so excited to be so close to achieving my dream.

“In 2015 I went to Morocco with World Challenge. During this time we stayed in a town and rebuilt sports facilities for the local school. We also met local people and I learnt so much about the local community.

“From this trip onwards, I have strived to do as much charity work as I possibly can. Beauty with a purpose is such an amazing charity and I cannot wait to raise more money alongside my fellow finalists.

“Becoming a Miss Wales 2018 finalist has really taught me a lot. One of the main things that I have learn from learn competition is how to wake up every morning and tell myself that I can achieve anything that I put my mind to and work hard for.”

The Miss Wales event takes place every year to search for the young woman who will represent Wales at Miss World.

The event has been going since the 1950’s and in recent years has had around 1,000 women registering an interest in the competition each year.

The winner is automatically guaranteed a place at Miss World. She also wins an package of prizes. In recent years, the competition has also raised more than £600,000 for children’s charities in Wales.

The winner will be crowned at Newport’s Riverfront Theatre on Saturday, April 28, following two days of events on Thursday, April 26, and Friday, April 27, at Cardiff’s Mercure Holland House.