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Dear Pageant Girl,

We love dark horses.  And this girl in our eyes is your classic dark horse.  Admittedly we overlooked Ana prior to last weekend’s WA Prelims.  But like all dark horses, they make their reveal at the right time.  Dear Pageant Girl was floored by her pictures on the runway.  This is a girl to watch out for.  Dark, dusky and mysterious.

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Ana Davogic, 22 years old, Perth WA

Tell us about you
I was born in Belgrade, Serbia and came to Australia in 1997, when I was seven years old with my parents and younger sister. I am currently working in banking after having completed my Bachelor Degree in Banking and Finance in 2010.

What is your motivation in joining this competition?
My largest motivation for joining this competition was that, ever since I came to Australia, I saw modelling as a way of ‘opening up,’ gaining confidence and meeting new and amazing people. The experiences and lessons learnt from competitions like this are invaluable and I would have always regretted not taking up this opportunity. Already, I feel that I have grown as a person, learnt so many new things and as a result lead a much healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle.

What do you know about Miss Universe Australia?
Miss Universe Australia is a national pageant that, not only selects girls to represent Australia based on physical attributes, but also on all the characteristics and qualities (personality, dedication, perseverance, intelligence) that would make Australia proud. In this competition, Australia has shown how multicultural differences are embraced and focuses not only on the exterior beauty of contestants but on inner beauty as well. All past winners have done so well in their lives, progressing and developing enormously on professional and personal levels. It is truly an inspiration to see all the avenues that Miss Universe Australia has opened up for, not only the winners, but also for the other contestants who have taken maximum advantage of what this competition has to offer.

Are pageants still relevant in this day and age?
I think that now, more than ever, pageants are relevant and provide positive examples for young women all over the world. Even though the emphasis on extremely thin models is slowly declining, this is still the most prevalent image we see in the media. Pageants such as Miss Universe Australia, promote healthy women, bodies and lifestyles; not strict diets and unhealthy choices. One of the first things that all of us girls were informed of after making it through to the top 60 was that Miss Universe Australia is NOT about being too thin, yet about being fit, toned and healthy. Hearing this just emphasised what I already knew, pageants promote good self-esteem, healthy lifestyles – they encourage and bring out confidence in women. This is also a great opportunity for young women in Australia to express their opinions regarding current issues affecting all of us today.

Apart from the crown, what do you hope to gain from this experience?
Some of the things that I hoped to gain from this experience I already have even though the competition has not yet come to an end. I have learnt what constitutes healthy eating, exercise levels and an all over healthy way of life. I have met so many amazing people and learnt something new from each one of them. As unbelievable as it may be, I have already formed life long friendships.  I also have so much more confidence in myself than I ever have before and that is definitely not an easy quality to attain, which just proves how much this competition has influenced me in a positive way. I have, through children’s charities ToyBox International and Starlight, started volunteering at Princess Margaret Hospital and seeing the children light up after one smile, one laugh, one conversation, has encouraged me to believe that one person can make a difference – no matter how small. Knowing that you can inspire somebody else, make them happy is truly one of the most amazing gifts that anyone can get. I hope to, through this experience, continue to make that bit of difference to somebody else’s life. I also hope that girls can gain confidence from looking at us, the top 60 contestants for Western Australia. Seeing that we are all so different, and that being individual is more important than conforming to one particular stereotype.

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Who are your role models?
My biggest role models are my parents. They have taught me so much and because of them I have learnt amazing lessons in life. They chose to come to Australia, to this amazing country of opportunities, to create an easier and better life for my sister and I. They were completely alone and had to work so hard to attain all the wonderful things that we have now. They showed me the importance of perseverance and motivated me to always be the best person I can be and that the most important things in life are respect, forgiveness and kindness. One nice word and a smile at the beginning of the day makes such a difference. For that, I will always be so grateful.

Tell me something interesting about yourself.
I am fluent in four languages! I can speak English, Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian. I hope to also learn to speak Italian and French. Also, I am currently studying for a Master of Accounting – I have one more year left!

What kind of preparations have you gone through for the competition?
The Miss Universe WA organisers have provided all of us girls with physical training including Pilates at the Pilates Institute of Fitness and Boxing at The Ring. I have never previously participated in either of these forms of exercise but now I could not imagine stopping! We were provided initially with a beginners course in Pilates and as soon as that was completed we were able to continue to the intermediate level. I have been going to Pilates a minimum of two sessions per week and I am really enjoying it. At the beginning I was a little worried about the boxing – I didn’t know whether I would enjoy it. I initially started attending two to three classes per week but within the first three weeks I had increased this to four or five. Now I am going to boxing almost every day, not because I feel like I have to, but because I can honestly say that I have never had so much fun exercising. I know that most of the other girls would agree with me on that. Mentally, on the other hand, the preparation has really been just getting to know all of the girls and organisers and knowing that we are all there to support each other has given me an enormous amount of confidence. I don’t think that it has quite yet even hit me that this is a competition but that is a great indication of what a memorable time all the girls and I have been having.
None of this would be possible without our wonderful organisers and I consider myself to be truly lucky to be a part of this experience.

Thank you for this opportunity.

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