A FINALIST For Miss England is challenging beauty stereotypes in the swimwear round of the pageant.

Miss Lancashire 2018/19 and finalist for Miss England, 20-year-old Aysha Khan went against wearing a bikini, instead choosing a wetsuit.

The swimwear round is now optional in the UK pageant as a photo submission, because the stage was banned in 2010.

But many girls still choose to submit an entry via a photo.

Miss Khan, from Blackburn, didn’t want to miss out, so she chose to enter the optional round, but posed in a wetsuit rather than a bikini.

She said: “This round is completely optional, and I didn’t want to miss out, so I submitted a photo in a surf suit.

“I wanted to show a different take on swimwear, and that you don’t have to wear a bikini to go to the beach.

“It’s a choice to dress with less clothing, it’s also a choice to dress with more and both are equally as empowering as the other as it’s a personal choice and feeling.

“I think other girls can see this and realise that they can do the same.

“Particularly because of my background, being Muslim too, I wanted to stay true to myself.”

Miss Khan will compete in the Miss England final on August 1, with rounds focusing on qualities such as talent and charity work.

The swimwear round winner will also win a trip to Mauritius, and winners will be announced at the final in Newcastle.

The Lancashire beauty also received words of encouragement from Lancastrian cricketer Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, who sent her a video wishing her good luck for the final. Miss Khan will go up against 54 other women.