DUBAI: A Muslim woman who fled the Bosnian refugee camp she spent time in as a baby has been named Miss World Australia 2017.
Esma Voloder, 25, has come a long way from her war-torn roots and was awarded the coveted crown in a competition in Melbourne on Friday.
Voloder said that she hopes to use the title to challenge stereotypes associated with Islam.
“The Islam that I know, that is in the Qur’an, I don’t associate that with any acts that are occurring around the world,” she said after her crowning ceremony.
My heart is full Gratitude and joy overtook me last night as I was crowned @missworldaustralia 2017 at @grandhyattmelbourne Last night re-affirmed that dreams really can become realities. We have all heard this and some of us have been fortunate to not only think it, but truly know it… though it has never prevented the doubt that creeps up on us... it is faith in the best outcome provides us with the strength and motivation to do our best and continue striving. So many people I would like to give a whole hearted thank you to- My family for your love and support. Miss World Australia team and @pageantqueenaus (Miss World Australia director) for your kindness, understanding, faith and trust in me. The judges who represented diverse and relevant elements and industries in Australia that I admire- from an organisation dedicated to helping those in need and giving women opportunity, comedy to keep us light hearted, fashion that keeps us feeling who we are, health and fitness which equips us with the energy to chase our dreams and send positive messages, and reality which showcases bravery to be who we are in front of a large audience. To @phuketpearls for the stunning crown inspired by the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge-it is so appreciated and considerate of you to have incorporated iconic Australian culture into your carefully handcrafted masterpiece, it is so beautiful and I love it dearly <3 The @hugthailand for your partnership and hospitality- I am so very excited to travel to the land of smiles once I have an extra big one to bring to your country @ozwearaustralia , @novoshoes and all our other sponsors for their generously donated gifts (products, thoughts, hospitality and love) . Each time I received something I felt so spoilt and meeting some of you has been a pleasure you are all so infectious and it really does translate in your products. Thank you for having myself as your ambassador. It has been a blessing to raise funds under #beautywithaprpose and for @varietyaustralia . Thank you Australia- for giving me a home and opportunity to do good #missworldaustralia2017
“People tend to blame religion for the atrocities that are happening, but if we do that we take responsibility away from the individuals.”
The seasoned pageant competitor told the crowd that “a lot of things have been misconstrued about Islam.
“I feel that a category has been created that is not really what the Qur’an actually promotes. I believe Islam is about peace, unity, prosperity and inclusion.”
Thank you for your love, support and beautiful coverage @amasone_xx #Repost @amasone_xx (@get_repost) ・・・ That's a wrap for MWA2017 Well done to all the girls and best of luck at @missworld 2017 for our newly crowned @missworldaustralia @esmavoloder #amasone #amasone #missworldaustralia #missworldaustralia2017 #crown #sash #hugthailand #beautywithapurpose #aussie #aussiepageantgirl #beauty #mwa2017
Voloder moved to Australia when she was five-months-old and went on to earn a degree in psychology.
She now works as a criminal profiler in Melbourne and said that she hopes to inspire unity in her new role.
“Despite what your personal beliefs are, if we all believe in what is good, we can work together and make this world a beautiful and liveable place while we are here.”