29 March 1987 |
Royal Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
|Years of service||2004 – 2015|
|Unit||Adjutant General's Corps|
|Other work||Miss England 2009|
Born and raised in Tunbridge Wells, she was educated from age 15 at the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in Croydon. Previously, she had attended Hillview School for Girls in Tonbridge.
Challenged by her older brother to join the army, she signed up aged 17. After basic training she was assigned to the Royal Anglian Regiment but as a member of the Adjutant Generals Corps. She reported for duty at their barracks in Winchester, Hampshire, wearing kitten heels, false eyelashes and with her clothes in a pink suitcase, earning her the nickname Combat Barbie.
She was deployed to Iraq in 2005. She rose to fame after it was reported in the British papers in 2005 that she had earned a commendation for her bravery whilst serving with the Royal Anglian Regiment in Iraq for wrestling two rifles from a prisoner following a road traffic accident (unconfirmed) and disputed by fellow servicemen. She was promoted to lance corporal.
Hodge was signed up by lingerie firm La Senza in 2009. Originally she was the runner up in the 2009 Miss England competition, but became Miss England on 7 November 2009 when the pageant winner Rachel Christie stepped down after she was involved in a fight. She only had 48 hours to prepare before taking part in the 59th Miss World pageant held in South Africa.
As Miss England, Hodge managed to persuade the organisers to remove the bikini round from the Miss England competition. This, she said, would change people's views of beauty pageants, from being just about looks and more about the girl. Hodge said "To be Miss England you don't have to be the girl who looks best in a swimsuit, thankfully it's much more than that, it's about being a good role model". The bikini round of the 2010 competition was removed and replaced with a sportswear round. Given six months leave by the Army, she was the front person for dating site Uniform Dating, which specifically aims to help uniformed personnel find love.
Return to army
Hodge handed over the Miss England crown to Jessica Linley in September 2010, and returned to active duty in the Army. After various training exercises, Hodge deployed to Afghanistan in early 2011.
Quitting the army and abuse allegations
In 2015, Hodge decided to leave the army after reaching the rank of corporal in order to become a banker. In 2018, she revealed that she suffered from sexist abuse from her male colleagues during her deployment in Iraq, and kept receiving insulting messages from them even after her retirement.
Hodge has a book called "Combats to Catwalk" which tells the story of how she went from Army Soldier to Beauty Queen.
- "Combat Barbie's 12 years of hell: Miss England winner quits Army after suffering vile sexist abuse". Daily Mirror. 17 February 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
- Johnson, Angella (24 January 2010). "Combat Barbie on a new mission for the MoD (that's the Ministry of Dating)". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
- http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/article6954393.ece Times Online interview dealing which specifically mentions the incident.
- http://www.southportreporter.com/435/435-6.shtml Southport Reporter - audio interview and written report and photos
- "Christie niece wins Miss England". BBC News. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Glover, Eleanor (Sep 7, 2009). "Miss England squaddie Katrina Hodge fronts La Senza's new lingerie campaign". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved Sep 8, 2009.
- "Soldier becomes new Miss England". The Daily Telegraph. London. 6 Nov 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Tunbridge Wells beauty queen returns to Army life". BBC News. Sep 29, 2010. Retrieved Sep 29, 2010.
- "From bikini line to the frontline: 'Combat Barbie' replaces fake tan with big tanks as the former Miss England prepares for a tour in Afghanistan". Daily Mail. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
- "Miss England dubbed Combat Barbie who saved lives of five comrades in Iraq quits the Army after being called 's**t' and 'b***h' in sickening campaign of abuse". Daily Mail. 18 February 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
- Combat to Catwalk: The Amazing Story of the Girl who went from Army Hero to Beauty Queen ISBN 1843584611