Teen channels beauty with a purpose as she takes on world
PICKING out a ball gown, organising make-up and choosing a hairstyle; everything you would assume 17-year-old Taya Grabbe would be doing to prepare for her school formal.
But the Sunshine Coast teen isn't getting glammed up to celebrate with classmates, she's getting ready to take on the world.
Taya has been named a finalist for 2019 Miss World Australia, along with eight other women from around the state.
The announcement came last Sunday after she competed at the state final on the Gold Coast. It was something that the aspiring model said was "completely unexpected".
"I feel very shocked and excited. I can barely believe it," she said.
Taya was born in Nambour and has grown up living on the Sunshine Coast.
She has been involved in modelling for just over a year, but she said it was her life long dream to turn it in to a full-time career once she graduated from high school at the end of the year.
"I first got in to modelling because all my friends and family said I should do it and I absolutely love fashion," Taya said.
"As cheesy as it sounds, I would love to one day join some of my role models with wings in a Victoria's Secret runway."
Miss World began in 1951 and is the largest and longest running international beauty pageant.
Hundreds apply to take part in the pageant every year and it is watched by billions all around the world.
Taya said while there were a lot of stereotypes around beauty pageants, she liked the charitable and ethical aspects that were associated with Miss World.
"I really admired that the event goes deeper than just physical attributes," she said.
"They place a value on beauty with a purpose."
As one of the youngest finalists to be named in the running for the title of Miss World Australia, Taya had to put in a lot of hard work to ensure she felt confident when on stage.
"I am naturally really shy so I have been doing a lot of speaking and practising answering questions," she said.
"I have also been working on training for the catwalk and photography."
Fitting in work and school while training for the pageant has been a balancing act for Taya, but she said it was all about staying organised.
"I am completing my final year of school so it makes it very hard to fit in study and sport," she said.
"But I just write lists of what I need to achieve to help me get through it."
Taya is currently working with Brisbane-based modelling agency Vivien's Models.
When they heard the news that Taya had been announced as a finalist for Miss World Australia they were beyond excited and "very proud" of the young model.
Vivien's Models state manager Georgia Barclay said they saw clear potential in Taya from the moment she first stepped foot in the agency.
"Vivien's scouted Taya a year ago when she dropped into the agency to say hello," she said.
"We immediately signed her because of her fit and healthy body and her wonderful and fun personality."
"We're looking forward to seeing how Taya develops as a model and excited that she is gaining so much confidence and experience being a part of Miss World."
The crowning ceremony for Miss World Australia will again be held at the Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast on July 19, stealing the show from Melbourne.
The winner will go on to represent Australia at the final in Thailand on December 7.
For more information about Miss World Australia visit the website at https://www.missworldaustralia.com.au/