A Bosnian refugee whose parents arrived in Australia with little more than "the shirts on their backs" has been crowned Miss Universe Australia.
Monika Radulovic, from NSW, and her parents fled their wartorn homeland when she was four.
"My parents basically had their shirts on their backs, so they are definitely my inspirations and my heroes so it's great to do them proud," the 24-year-old said at the ceremony in Melbourne.
The psychology graduate beat 34 others to the title on Friday night at the fifth annual Miss Universe Australia pageant and will next represent Australia at the Miss Universe international final early next year.
"It's been an amazing journey," she said. "I don't know what I'm thinking, I just know that I'm so excited."
Women in the pageant were scrutinised across three categories, swimwear, eveningwear and questions and answers.
Questions in the final round of the competition centred on social issues, including bullying, social media and governmental responses to violence. "I hope in 50 years time we won't be asking this question at Miss Universe Australia," Miss Radulovic said in her response to a question about extremism posed by a judging panel that included Sydney neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo, Real Housewives Of Melbourne cast member Gina Liano, former Today show entertainment reporter Richard Reid and Miss Universe director Deborah Miller.
Runner-up was Queenslander Madeleine Cowe, 22, and Chanel Stewart, 19, also from NSW, was placed third.
Miss Radulovic, who joins former winners Jennifer Hawkins, Laura Dundovic and Jesinta Campbell, said she intends to claim the world title for Australia.
"It's been a while since we won Miss Universe, and I plan to hopefully win."
Source: SMH.com.au, June 6, 2015
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