Opera singer Erin Holland is the new Miss World Australia. The Sydney soprano, who describes herself as an ugly duckling, will be representing the country in the Miss World pageant in Indonesia in September.
“I used to be an ugly duckling so I don’t know what happened!” the 24-year-old blonde beauty told The Daily Telegraph. “I was the band geek at school who boys weren’t interested in.”
On Saturday, the stunned Ms Holland beat 32 other women vying for the coveted crown at the pageant show finals. She wowed the crowd early on and impressed the judges, which included “The Voice” finalist Tim Morrison and “Celebrity Apprentice” star Layla Subritzky, at the contest proper in Melbourne.
It was her impressive rendition of “Maybe This Time” from “Caberet” the musical during the talent section that had boosted her into the final top 10.
As a student of Bachelor of Classical Voice from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Ms Holland’s dream is to be the Australian equivalent of Welsh opera star Katherine Jenkins. She started modelling 18 months ago, but she still has her priorities in order.
“I never identified with being a model or a beauty queen. Appearance wasn’t a great priority growing up. Sitting up in from of a mirror wasn’t how I lived my life,” she said.
“Beauty doesn’t last forever. A pretty face is a pretty face for a certain amount of time, then what are you left with? I think it’s important to be well-rounded.”
Ms Holland will be competing with other nations’ representatives at the Miss World pageant in Indonesia on September 28.
In June, it was announced that the predominantly Islamic Southeast Asian country is nixing the bikini segment of the show after protests from Muslim groups. Instead of bikinis, the contestants would be wearing sarongs.
Related: Miss World 2013 Bans Bikini in Indonesia [Read]
And that’s not a problem for the Australia’s representative. In fact, Ms Holland said she prefers
“You know, we got to respect the country in which we are having the competition this year. And if it means wearing a sarong around the bottom of a bikini then I’m complete fine with that,” she told the “Today” show.
“Probably preferred in my case, I think. We got a bit more covered up so I’m absolutely fine with it.”
Natalie Roser from Newcastle was named runner-up.