By Harriet Whitehead
Meet the stunning mum and daughter duo who are taking the beauty pageant scene by storm – and are so alike they’re often mistaken for SISTERS.
Glam gran Laurie Meisak, 55, decided to follow in her 24-year-old daughter Amy Meisak’s footsteps and take part in pageants after encouragement from her friends and family.
The youthful mum-of-four, who even dared to strip down to her swimwear for her first competition, impressed judges at the Miss Galaxy UK final last week – coming first runner-up.
The gorgeous gran-of-two claims she’s been given a new lease of life and wants to inspire women of all shapes and sizes to have more confidence.
Daughter Amy, who gave her mum lessons on how to impress on the catwalk, started competing when she was 19 and currently holds the title of Miss Grand International Scotland.
Laurie, from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, said: “It was my first pageant. I’m a mum of four and I’ve never done anything like this before.
“As a mum I’ve always been a cheerleader for my children and supported them and now they’re grown up. I never thought I would be on the receiving end and my family would be cheering for me.
“I feel wonderful. I’ve never felt this good in my life and I’ve loved every second.
“I did it for the fun factor and to fly the flag for women of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re a size six or 16, tall or short, fat or thin it doesn’t matter. It’s about taking part and having fun.
“No woman should feel as if she’s past her sell-by date or has a shelf life. I think if I can do it anyone can.”
Also mum to Kelly, 31, Lewis, 29, and Kyle, 27, Laurie has spent the last five years travelling up and down the UK with Amy supporting her at pageants and helping make her dresses.
The pair claim they are often mistaken for sisters – and Laurie herself has to do a double take when looking through photos.
The hairdresser said: “A lot of people say we look like sisters. Amy and I look very similar. She changed her hair recently and it’s a similar colour so we look even more alike.
“We have a make-up artist friend who did our make-up for the pageants and she said it’s uncanny how alike we are – we have the same eye shape.
“Sometimes when I’m scrolling through pictures of Amy I have to go back because I think it’s me and she does the same.
“Amy was 19 when she did her first pageant and she came third. She got through to the final of Miss World Supermodel and got to compete in Fiji then she represented Scotland in the Miss Earth competition in Vienna – she’s had such a great experience with it all.
“She’s my inspiration. She said to me ‘I think you should do something’ and I said ‘don’t be ridiculous, not at my age’.
“And she said ‘mum in 15 years you’ll be 70 and won’t be able to do anything like that’. She said ‘you’ll have a blast and it will boost your confidence and make you feel good’.
“I thought she was right and that I should do it. Amy gave me lessons. We’ve been practising the walk in high heels in the kitchen for weeks and she’s been a real hard taskmaster.
“It’s caused much hilarity in our house. My son Kyle was actually better at the walk than me which was hilarious.
“It’s been a family group effort really. The support I’ve had from them has been second to none. I’m quite overwhelmed by it.”
Laurie’s estate agent husband Kenny, 56, has also shown his support.
She said: “He’s been an absolute brick. He’s a bit of a fish out of water at the pageants but he’s been so supportive and tells me to do whatever makes me happy.”
Having raised around £2,000 for charity as part of the process, Laurie said there’s a misconception about the pageant world.
Laurie said: “There’s a stigma. People think you have to stand there and look pretty but there’s so much work that goes on in the background.
“You are judged but you get points for the amount of appearances you’ve made, how much money you’ve raised, for how you pose on stage, for your personality, for the interview you give and for how you dance.
“It’s not just about beauty or how big your boobs look. It’s about what you’ve done and how well you’ve done it.
“Amy’s met brain surgeons, scientists, racing car drivers. Some of these girls are really intelligent and it’s a shame there’s this perception about it. People tend to judge when they don’t have the facts.”
Laurie admitted she was nervous when taking to the catwalk for the first time but her family were there holding up posters and cheering her on.
She said: “My knees were knocking. All of a sudden you’re just out there on your own with all these eyes staring at you and a big spotlight in your face.
“It’s quite daunting. You have to hold everything up, pull everything in and tuck your smile behind your ears.
“Afterwards I really felt the euphoria of having just done something that takes you out of your comfort zone and puts you in the spotlight.
“I felt so proud of myself. It’s been a blast. I feel 21 again and I’ve made so many new friends. It’s given me a new lease of life.
“I thought I would just end up doing the one but I’ve got the bug now and I would encourage women of any age to have a bash. There were women of all ages in the ‘Mrs’ category – I think I may have been the eldest.
“It’s such a supportive community. Some people think these girls have long nails and sharp elbows but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone supports and encourages each other.”
A healthy size 12, Laurie said preparing for the pageant has encouraged her to get fit and lose weight.
She said: “It made me put me first. I thought I’m going to be in the spotlight so I want to look my best. I feel the best I’ve ever felt and I wish I could jar it. I’d give it away for free if I could.”
College student and radio broadcaster Amy, who is an aspiring television presenter, said she got into pageants as a way of boosting her confidence and tackling her nerves.
She’s represented Scotland three times and the UK once in the Miss Grand International, Miss Earth, Miss World Supermodel and Face of the Globe competitions.
Amy said: “A couple of years ago one of my mum’s friends entered and did really well which showed you could try it at any age.
“I thought my mum would love this even if it’s just for a bit of fun.
“I think my words to her were something like ‘you should use your legs while you still can’.
“When she came first runner-up we were so proud – there were so many women of all different ages and backgrounds and they all got an equal opportunity.
“I was in the crowd. We’d made big banners with her name on it. A lot of the girls knew her already having seen her with me at pageant events so she had so much support.
“It was a mix of feelings seeing her up there. I was feeling nervous for her but proud at the same time. She looked amazing.
“She’s always the one making sure things are working smoothly. This time it was me helping her with her make-up and glamming up her outfit.
“She’s usually the proud mum at the back of the assembly hall but this time it was the other way round.
“She’s been the mum and always put us before her – now it’s time for her to enjoy herself.
“She’s always been a trendy mum but I’ve seen a real change over the last couple of months. She’s starting to feel really good about herself.
“She’s been getting fit and it’s given her more confidence. She’s got such life in her.
“We’ve always been close growing up but I feel like the pageants have brought us closer together as it’s a hobby we’re doing together.”