OCEAN Grove beauty Rebecca Watson is feeling on top of the world this week after being named a state finalist in Miss World Australia.
The 24-year-old childcare worker is now through to the national final to be held in Queensland on July 9.
Rebecca admits she broke into tears when her name was called out as a top five Victorian finalist during a function at the glamorous Hotel Windsor in Melbourne.
“I was overwhelmed, there were lots of tears – I think I was the only one who cried,” she laughs.
“I didn’t expect to get through and I was just happy to be participating in something great.”
Rebecca says it was a last-minute decision to enter the competition and the first time she had done anything like it.
“I only had about a month to prepare – it was very last-minute for me compared to a lot of the other girls who had been preparing since September 2019 when the prelims were held,” she says.
“But I was going through a bit of a rough patch in my life where I had the mindset of not feeling that great and I was wondering about the purpose of what I was doing.
“I love my job but I wanted something more.”
Miss World is the largest and longest running international beauty pageant, with past winners including Baywatch movie star Priyanka Chopra and Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai.
Rebecca says her next step is to hire a pageant coach, continue training and hopefully work with a local fashion label to create an amazing evening gown.
She is also teaming up with the other Victorian finalists to host a fundraiser for the pageant’s charity partner, Variety.
“Miss World’s motto is ‘beauty with a purpose’ which encourages young women to live a compassionate and humanitarian life, which is one of the sole reasons I joined,” Rebecca says.
“The charity being Variety, which helps children, is a cause I naturally gravitate towards because of my line of work and family values.”
At the national final Rebecca will be judged on her question and answer, public speaking and evening gown.
“I absolutely want to give it my best crack,” she says.
“The idea is to win and I am going to strive to do my absolute best because I do want to win just as much as all the other girls.
“But I’m also looking at it as a new journey for me, no matter what happens afterwards, I would like to keep helping people and be open to presenting jobs or wherever it might land me.
“I’ve already had a couple of modelling agencies and brands contact me about doing photoshoots so it’s kind of all happening.
“As I posted on my Instagram ‘no risk, no magic’ – I’ve taken the risk and a bit of magic has come out of it which I’m really grateful for.”
Rebecca loves living on the Bellarine Peninsula where she has plenty of family support and enjoys coffee catch-ups with friends and regular beach walks.
But she also feels ready to test the waters of what lies beyond her “safe coastal bubble”.
“I used to have these dreams where I wanted to do something like this but I cared too much what other people thought,” she says.
“I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea or they may not see it is as something they would do, but it’s definitely something I’m keen to do and maybe even represent my country.
“And hopefully I can do my local community proud too.”