Miss World Australia judge, and burn survivor, Turia Pitt was looking for individuality amongst the contestants of this year’s beauty pageant, and then four finalists stepped onto the stage wearing duplicate swimwear.
In an onstage opportunity to stand out and leave an impression, 4 contestants vying for the same title looked distinctively similar when they stepped out clad in uniform navy and white striped bikinis.
After five hours of deliberation the judges finally managed to tell the contestants apart and on Sunday night, an hour and a half later than scheduled, Queenslander Courtney Thorpe, 24 was crowned Miss World Australia 2014.
The 42 contestants from all over Australia were certainly put through their paces in the days running up to the crowning event with a fitness endurance competition, 3 separate runway shows and a beach photo shoot.
Thorpe is not only a children’s book writer and budding journalist, but also a professional stylist.
Later this year Courtney will be representing Australia at the Miss World International Pageant in London
“I am still in shock! It’s not every day that you wake up and realise that all your dreams have come true and your whole life has changed. It’s a mix of excitement, nerves and happiness,” Ms Thorpe said.
“For the moment, I am just taking everything as it comes — I am organising to move in the next few days and I have also just found out that in just a few weeks I will be travelling … to the Aboriginal community of Lilla in the Northern Territory to continue the work that Miss World Australia has been doing there.
“I am looking forward to the next year as Miss World Australia.”
To take out the title, Ms Thorpe had to live up to the Miss World ethos “beauty with a purpose” and impress a judging panel which included burns survivor Turia Pitt.
26-year old Pitt suffered horrific burns to 65% of her body when she was engulfed by a bushfire while competing in an ultra-marathon.
She has now turned her nightmare experience into an opportunity to encourage and motivate people faced with difficulties. Pitt travels the country with a message of survival and inspiration and also spoke to the 42 contestants of the pageant the night before the crowning.
Erin Holland, Miss World Australia 2013, said of Ms Pitt’s talk to the contestants, “Every single girl said they were completely moved by Turia’s talk and it made all of them reassess the way they think about life.
“We’re all faced with adversity in our life but with a positive outlook you can overcome anything and that’s exactly what Turia shows us.”
“You may think you’re having a bad day but she went through the most extreme version of that,” said Holland in an interview with the Daily Mail.
“Turia has rebuilt her body and her mind and she’s done it all with a positive attitude – she’s the most incredibly inspirational person I’ve met,” said Holland who later that night also crowned second runner-up Laura Jane Corker and first runner-up Alex Hecker.
Photo supplied. Miss World Australia 2014 Courtney Thorpe (right), with 2013 winner Erin Holland.