BEAUTY queen Christine Gregory is a woman with a mission – as Mrs Swindon British Empire, she wants to use her success to kickstart a local campaign educating young people on the dangers of sexual exploitation.

The former pole-dance fitness instructor and mother of four made it to the finals of the Miss British Empire beauty pageant, and won the Community Service Award.

Now she plans to use her skills and experiences to run a college course on modelling, and to educate aspiring models and young women working in lap-dancing clubs about ways to keep safe.

“I want to help protect girls, to raise the standards in clubs so they don’t fall through the cracks,” she says.

“I want to see security guards at the clubs trained in tackling sexual exploitation, and the girls to have a performance and entertainment licence to ensure they are fully trained and understand how to report any issues.”

Already Christine has met local MP Robert Buckland to raise her concerns about the safety and working conditions of women working in the adult entertainment industry.

“I told him I was worried standards had dropped and women are being exploited,” she says.

And why do the women simply walk away and get another job?

“I think it can be addictive. You get a rush of endorphins being on stage, getting the attention, and the money is relatively good. But some of the girls want to get out.”

Christine was herself a pole dancer in Swindon’s clubs, for six months in 2005 but she did not enjoy the experience.

“I was not treated nicely – I was bullied by the management and staff,” she says.

Most pole dancers she has spoken too are self-employed. Although she does not want to campaign for pole dancing clubs to be banned – “you can’t destroy it, it would just go underground” – she does want more protections for people working in the industry.

Her experiences in the clubs inspired her to set up a business training people to pole dance for fitness, called Polefect, in a London Road studio, which operated for 13 years.

“I wanted to show people a different way of using the pole,” she explains.

Eventually she decided to call it a day, worried about the strain of 13 years’ teaching on her body, and the effects of repetitive strain and arthritis. She turned to Pilates instead.

“I was really busy, working on my own for several years, seven days a week. I trained some instructors, and I had three working for me and going through certification.”

Christine was born in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. At school she excelled at sports, running for the district, and enjoying hockey, netball and athletics.

Aged 17, she moved with her family to Swindon. She trained to be a chef, and a silver service waitress, then trained in management and worked in sales for Time Computers and Tiny computers, then in retail management for PC World and other stores.

Now a single mum, she has her hands full taking care of Klara, 14, Tianna, seven, Kane, six, and Tegan, four, at their home in Westlea, working as a part-time carer and – as of last year – making a move into the world of beauty pageants and modelling competitions.

Not only has she been named Mrs Swindon British Empire, she has also entered the Miss British Isles contest, and the UK’s Top Model competition.

Christine won her place in the Miss British Empire final after submitting a photograph, and then enjoyed a glamorous international finals event at the Crowne Plaza in Buckinghamshire on August 25.

“I loved it!” she recalls. “I met lots of people, including Miss Jamaica and Miss Asia. Everyone was so friendly. We had three master classes on presentation and TV skills; we had our hair and make-up done.”

She had a long day at the finals, from 10amm to 11pm, one of eight finalists in the Mrs British Empire class, for women aged 28 to 44. The final consisted of either demonstrating a talent or doing a live interview, a catwalk in a cocktail dress and a second catwalk in a fashion outfit.

“We were trained how to do this, how to keep a smile on your face, and techniques for poses, keeping eye contact with the judges,” she explains.

Although she did not win the final, Christine did scoop the Community Service Award, which means she attended a red carpet event in London to collect it on September 22.

She also won a place in the UK Top Model competition in March, after submitting a photography, an experience she says gave her a chance to learn modelling and catwalk skills.

“It was a fantastic experience, and we trained with top models. I learnt a lot from that,” she says.

“I would love to run a modelling competition in Swindon, and use the experience I have had.

“I would like to do that to raise money for the Children’s Society.

“As well as training young people in modelling skills, I want to teach them about exploitation.

“That does happen. You get a young woman wanting to get into the industry, and she’s putting together a portfolio and then she gets asked for nudes. They need to know how to get into modelling, film and media safely.”

Christine’s children are enthusiastic and supportive of what she is doing.

“Tia, Kane and Tegan all want to take part in the contests too,” she said. “They are proud of me.”

Despite the glamorous events she has been attending, at home Christine says she lives a very normal life – and does not even wear make-up most of the time.

“I’m completely natural at home and in everyday life,” she said. “I’m doing this because I want to raise awareness and raise confidence.”