Sarah Davies interview: From beauty queen to weightlifting superstar

For the past decade, Davies, who hails from Preston, has been on a mission to promote one message: that strong is beautiful. “When I started in pageantry, it probably was more girls just on cardio machines trying to lose weight and dieting, but now you are seeing more girls hitting the weights to get themselves in shape,” explained Davies, for whom pageantry became more of a hobby after her weightlifting career took off. 

“People would see me and say, ‘Oh your bum’s amazing, how did you get it like that?’ And I’d be like, ‘It’s weightlifting.’ It gave me the opportunity to educate other women on that healthier approach. Even internationally, beauty pageants now look much healthier than they did 20 years ago when there was a size zero supermodel world.”

In a recent example of how society is embracing stronger female bodies, Disney fans have gravitated towards Luisa Madrigal, a muscular character in the new animated film ‘Encanto’ who critics say is more relatable to young girls than her sister, Isabella, who conforms to more traditional notions of femininity.

Davies is one of many now tapping into the huge trend towards weight-based fitness, having launched her own weightlifting coaching business after 2016 when the promise of athlete funding was suddenly withdrawn. Would she ever return to pageantry? “It’s not a no, but it’s a ‘not right now’,” she said. “With the Commonwealth Games coming up, that’s my main focus. To have a gold medal on home soil would be quite nice.” 

Weightlifter, businesswoman and mythbuster – given the many hats she wears, Davies can rest safe in the knowledge that she is already inspiring the next generation of athletic beauty queens.

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