Coast girl in Miss Universe Australia finals

17 Jul

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By Elke Critchley, Bond University journalism student

Local beauty Lauren Barley made her home city proud last weekend as she took to the stage at the Miss Universe Australia finals in Melbourne.

The Gold Coast beauty placed in the top 30 for the prestigious event held at the Sofitel hotel.

Embarking on her modelling career only a few months ago, Lauren, 20, was approached by a modelling scout who encouraged her to enter the Miss Universe Australia pageant, where the winner would represent Australia at the Miss Universe finals in Russia later this year.

“After a few weeks of thinking about it, I decided to enter the competition because to me it was an opportunity to show what I believe is important in the definition of beauty. It was also a good place to meet new people and network for future jobs,” Lauren said.

Seemingly daunting at first, Lauren was surprised when she  made it through to the Queensland finals with 10 other girls.

“I couldn’t believe I made it past the first stage, I was surprised but extremely happy,” she said.

It wasn’t long before the local beauty placed in the top three at the Queensland heat, taking her all the way to the Miss Universe Australian finals where she would compete against 25 other girls from all around Australia.

The final stages of the pageant involved an interview with the panel of judges, question and answer time and a bikini and formal wear parade.

“I think being in a pageant like this surrounded left right and centre by beautiful girls – especially in the bikini and formal parades – the biggest thing to overcome was to try not compare yourself to the other girls. It is hard when you are your own worst critic, but I think as the competition went on I learned that you just can’t compare yourself to others but just to be the best that you can be.”

Lauren’s number one fan Deborah Barley said: “I couldn’t be more proud of her, she has truly grown from this experience and she will always be my number one.”

Although Lauren was not crowned Miss Universe Australia, she did get picked up by numerous international and national modelling scouts.

“I have kept in touch with some of the scouts that I met at the competition and have been discussing contracts with doing modelling work in Asia, as this was the market they said I would be suitable for,” Lauren said.

Lauren heads to Asia later this year to continue her modelling journey.

Caption: Lauren (left) with fellow competitors

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