I began competing in the American Galaxy competitions in the early 90s, I even won the World Fitness Champion title twice against over 250 women, but what I couldn’t understand is why the UK’s fitness competition market didn’t advance at the same rate. America was booming and Blighty was left behind.

And then, in June 2011, there was a bodybuilding/bikini show at Scala in London’s Kings Cross. Finally I thought, the fitness competitions I loved had come over and I was a part of it: I was a judge!

How wrong I was. I was told I was only there to look professional and that I should relax and get myself a drink. My voice and opinion seemed to count for nothing. To say I was disappointed and angry is an understatement. How could someone take something I love so much and make it deceitful?

That’s when I had the idea to create my own show and make it bigger and better. I would give contestants a fair and respectful environment to compete.  Because I knew that it takes a lot of guts to get up on a stage in a bikini I would be there for all the participants every step of the way. But, most importantly the judging would be impartial.  And that’s when Miss Galaxy Universe was born.

Within six months I had developed it to be the perfect show, with the help of Knoklyn Wan (Gok Wan’s brother) who gave me a stage. A show by women for women. It combines beauty, athletics and swimwear, what is not to love? It is a show that boosts women’s confidence: even if they are not confident at first, they are at the end for Miss Galaxy Universe is open to all women, no matter how curvy, how tall or even how old.

I made the scoring system fair, creating different categories for different body shapes and ages. Formed a carefully thought-out fitness test to ensure all the girls were put through their paces. This included Discipline difficulty and skill levels.

The first Miss Galaxy Universe show was in May 2012 at the NEC, Birmingham and saw 50 girls take to the stage. Now, we have over a hundred girls participate and run two shows a year along with bikini and fitness boot camps ran by my team and a team of Royal Marines

The show is growing stronger and stronger every time, I even have a waiting list for girls to attend. Renowned fitness celebrities judge at each event, including cage fighter Alex Reid and Mick Lewis, who was Saracen in the original TV show Gladiators.

My vision was a day of fitness, an afternoon of swimwear and an evening of glamorous gowns, medals, tiaras and sashes. I have achieved this with a show dedicated to finding the ‘modern woman’ who represents health, inner beauty, strength and individuality. A woman who would encourage other women into a healthier lifestyle. A woman who is Miss Galaxy Universe.

The next show is in May 2015.

www.sarahdonohue.com