Nod To Diversity In This Year's Miss Universe Australia Winner
Priya Serraro, a Victorian policy adviser who came from the Middle East took home the title of Miss Universe Australia 2019 in what is normally a conservative beauty pageant.
The 26-year-old came to Australia when she was 11 and last night took home the crown, despite not having any modelling experience or being in a pageant before.
Priya, who was born in India and lived in Oman and Dubai before her family moved to Melbourne, put her win down to "beginner's luck".
“I honestly just entered, part of it was the experience to be see what it would be like,” Serrao told News Corp. “I didn’t even think … oh man, I can’t believe I’m here.”
Priya said she was so sure she wouldn't win that she didn't even tell her family about the final ceremony. “I thought it’d be sad (that) they’d see me not make it, and they’d miss out,” she told News Corp.
Yet she did, taking out top spot in a division of 28 other contestants.
In March, Priya made an announcement she had made it to the the finals along with six other women. She captioned the photo with, “So this happened …"
“So excited and chuffed (and a little in disbelief) to be a national finalist for Miss Universe Australia this year!” she wrote.
“I have a feeling that the next few months are going to involve a steep learning curve, but I can’t wait to get started.”
Sheba Nandkeolyar, a leading expert in multicultural marketing and an Indian Australian business leader, told 10 daily she is thrilled about Priya winning the crown.
“The Indian community today is the fastest growing section of the Australian population. I am not surprised at all about this win. It had to happen soon. A big congratulations to Priya – it means a lot to the Indian diaspora,” she said.
"What a long way we have come to be able to select beauty not based on the colour of our skin, eyes and hair. In fact all the runner ups too are testimony to this celebration of Multicultural Australia.”
The 2019 runner-up for the title Bella Kasimba is an Australian-Ugandan.
Sheba knows what its like to break barriers and be a 'first'.
She was the first female national chair of Australia India Business Council in 2016 and co-founded of Australia’s leading, independent multicultural, global marketing and digital agency.
Australian model Francesca Hung won the coveted title in 2018. The 25-year-old has Chinese-Irish parents. She represented Australia in the global competition in Bangkok.
There have only been two Miss Universe title holders from Australia: Kerry Anne Wells in 1972 and Jennifer Hawkins in 2004.
Featured image: www.instagram.com/priyaserrao/