Miss World was announced on September 28. Australia's Erin Holland came in the Top 10 and was chosen as Miss Oceania. Missosology, a publication and site which analyses beauty pageants voted her the top contender. As Miss Oceania she will act for Miss World in the region.
According to a recent news.com.au report, the classic stumbling block for many a Miss World contestant is the Question and Answer round. The segment, the report pointed out, rarely disappoints when it comes to eliciting some truly extraordinary off-the-cuff responses.
In a competition that’s all about being yourself, there is little doubt being asked your opinion about ‘asylum seekers’, or ‘to explain what the most pressing issues for the youth of today are’, while standing on a stage in front of a live audience and a table of judges has the potential to send anyone into a tailspin – and that is, of course, the point. How else do the judges weed out the hopefuls to leave the winner?
Erin Holland, this year’s Miss World, Australia winner, says, “It’s the Beauty with a Purpose segment of the competition that really counts in Miss World. It certainly taught me how much of a difference you can make by getting involved.”
Erin goes on to note that if she was to walk away from the competition now she’d have gained “amazing experience. I get why standing up to make a difference is so important, that my presentation skills have been significantly strengthened and that I could get work as an event planner.”
In the lead up to the world finals Erin has played her part in a two-year process in which the Miss World organisation in Australia has raised more than $120,000 for an indigenous community, four hours’ drive from Uluru.
Before leaving for Bali and the three and a half weeks of scrutiny she faces in the preparation for the pageant final on September 28, Erin drove to the community to deliver $70,000 worth of equipment and its instalment, including fridges, solar power panels and heating, putting the finishing touches to her charitable works pageant component.
“The itinerary in Indonesia is a surprise. The competition rules have also been altered to take into account the cultural differences. It’s exciting and intense – we’ll be on display the whole time,” explains Erin, who’s been jumping the pageant hoops for more than five months now while still working fulltime as an entertainer, singer, dancer, actor and presenter.
There will be no swim wear component in this year’s contest and contestants are being prepped to remain aware of what is considered appropriate in dress and behaviour at all times.
“Miss World is a very specific competition. The judges are looking for specific things and unless you know what they are it can be very difficult to do well. One of the world’s best beauty pageant coaches and a past judge, Peter Sereno has been taking me through how to walk, my 30 second speech… we’ve watched past competitions to assess what contestants have done well and what they haven’t. He’s provided me with tips and bits and pieces I can take with me and implement in my performance,” says Erin of her coaching process.
“It’s my little version of the Olympics; it’s the closest thing I’ll ever get to the Olympics,” she admits.
Erin has also developed a strategy. An entertainer with a Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Erin’s plan in the talent segment of the competition, which happens early in the process, is to blow them away with her singing.
“I want to leave them having made a real impression - one that will set me apart from the others in the competition.
“The Miss World experience has been a wonderful opportunity for me to refine my skills. It’s also given me the chance to get exposure for what I do and what I’d like to do – musical theatre and presentation. Miss World’s about displaying who you are and what you think - and doing that on a global stage.”