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With an interest in space from a young age, Dani plans to take the next "small step" thanks to a Lynx promotion. Photo: Danielle Hawarden

Astro girl reaches for the stars in deodorant competition

A student at the University of Manchester is attempting to be sent into space as part of a Lynx advertising campaign.

However, this isn’t a ‘lad’ looking to get “the ultimate lead in the dating game”, as the Lynx adverts suggest.  Indeed, this isn’t a “lad” at all.

Danielle Hawarden, a pre-medical student at the University of Manchester, has been interested in space from a young age.

After having flying lessons at school, Dani attended the University of Sheffield to study Physics and Philosophy. While there, she was a member of the RAF Volunteer Reserves, and completed a solo flight in a Grob Tutor T1 aircraft.

“The combination of flying and physics got me into it, really”, Dani said.

“I’ve got an interest in aerospace so it all adds up to astronaut!”

Dani is currently placed 136th in the competition out of thousands of applicants. The first round of the competition is decided entirely on votes from the public, with the top 200 when the poll closes on April 30th advancing to the mysterious next stage.

“Not many details have been released,” she explains, “but it’s basically going to be mental and physical challenges, as if it were a real astronaut selection.”

“I’m on the Uni rowing team, and I’ve done triathalons before, so I’ve got the fitness side down hopefully”, Dani continued.

“I’m hoping that this, combined with my degree, [means] I’ll do quite well. I’m in with a decent chance!”

Was Dani weary of applying, given the company running the promotion?

“A lot of their advertising is obviously geared towards men, and I think that put people off”, Dani said.

“People weren’t even sure if women could apply, but I saw it on TV and [said] oh my god, this is amazing! This sounds right up my street”, she continued.

“I [said to myself] ‘this is definitely for me. I’m doing it regardless.’”

This isn’t Dani’s first brush with space celebrity, however. At 16, she managed to score a work placement with NASA, at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas.

“I basically rang around NASA to see if I could do work experience there, obviously thinking ‘no way’”, Dani explained.

“Amazingly, I managed to get a week at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, and that’s where Mission Control is so it was a pretty good place to go!”

Whilst there, Dani rubbed shoulders with some astronauts who managed to get to space without the help of a deodorant company.

“When I was there, the Discovery shuttle landed, and I got to meet some of the astronauts that had just came down from space,” Dani said.

“That reaffirmed that this is what I want to do. It was amazing!”

Given the advert’s promise to give “one man the ultimate lead in the dating game”, would Dani use her newfound space celebrity to pull, if she won?

“I don’t think my boyfriend would be very happy with that”, she stated. “But I would try and use it to get some free stuff!”

“I’d definitely use it to my advantage. Maybe if I apply to NASA later in my career it would be good on my CV to say ‘well, I’ve already been to space!’”.

The link to vote for Dani is Voting closes on April 30.

Tags: astronaut, competition, dani hawarden, lynx, NASA, space

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