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Society has an unfortunate misunderstanding when it comes to pageant girls. Immediately “Miss Congeniality” or Netflix’s “Insatiable” come to mind.

Am I right?

The chaos, the manipulation, and the competition. Who doesn’t love a good dose of drama?

However, for pageant contestant Billie Duckworth, this stigma could not be further from the truth.

In an exclusive interview with FIB, we ask some of the juicy questions. Read on to discover what the life of a Miss Universe Australia contestant is all about!

Who is Billie?

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Billie is an average girl from Sydney. At the ripe age of twenty-two, the world is her oyster. She’s at an age where opportunities for her to dive into are aplenty.

She classes herself as a very creative person and loves to charge head-first into a project that catches her interest. She tends to go through “passion projects” quite quickly.

As well as pageant prep, Billie is lending her multitalented hands to her friend’s start-up business. Coming on board as Creative director, there is nothing but room for growth and expression in her future.

As for her past, she has had plenty of experience as a voice-over artist. Beginning from the age of eleven to eighteen, she took on some big-time campaigns.

Jokingly, Billie spoke of her time as a voice-over artist,

“People sometimes hear my voice, and think that it sounds familiar but they don’t know where they have heard it from.”

This was an added bonus to her Miss Universe Australia application. I think we can all agree – having someone’s voice trapped in our head, and never being able to figure out where we know it from – is very intriguing.

She also joked about having the parrot-like ability of,

“Once having heard something, I can usually repeat it.”

Wouldn’t we all love a superpower like that?

After completing high school, Billie moved straight into working life. She talks about her time in retail during the week. Also, for Today FM and Triple M, as well as a number of other odd jobs. She says that it’s not unusual for her to work three jobs at once. Her goal is to travel down as many avenues as possible to find where her passion lies. A desk job definitely isn’t in her future.

On Being a Pageant Girl

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Apparently, training to be a contestant is not as complicated or stressful as you might think. Billie took it upon herself to do extensive research for her own benefit, however.

Since there are no official training classes or lessons and you do not get assigned a coach – big shock right? – Billie did her research by going through past pageant history and contestants to gauge what she would be in for. As is customary to our generation, “a lot of YouTube was consumed in the hopes of learning a few tips and tricks”.

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For the more physical side of training, Billie confessed to practising her strut up and down the lounge room whilst her patient boyfriend watched for guidance. To boost encouragement, he took the first attempt at strutting his own stuff to ease her nerves.

Billie reminisces about some childhood experiences, describe the feeling of wanting to grow up and be like the supermodels you see on tv. It is every kid’s dream to do something they think is out of reach.

Luckily for her, she is making her dream a reality.

Billie explains that the Miss Universe Pageant reached out to her first. The team advised her that she looked like she was the type of girl with a true and good message to share.

Billie says,

“I didn’t even think about it”

Billie threw her hat in the ring and took the opportunity while it was there.

Time for Growth

Billie admits that growing up, she was the victim of some serious bullying – which shattered her confidence.

“as a kid, my confidence was knocked around a lot due to the bullying.”

When it came to social media, she felt slightly distant from the world her friends lived in.

She describes her lack of confidence growing up, and feeling like she wasn’t flourishing in the same way as those around her. “It’s such an important issue to address, especially with social media as part of our daily lives. We need to start having that conversation more openly” Billie adds.
Focusing in on the prospect of achieving something truly great has left her feeling more at ease within herself as an individual.

And what is it like being a pageant girl? Is it bitchy and competitive?

“We have a group chat, and everyone is so supportive. Down to outfits, no one is your competitor.”

It’s definitely a good thing that such a positive environment can be the result of a competition centred around appearances. It’s a refreshing take on the potential harshness of competition.

Future Plans

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Billie loves to create her own content. She spends her time modelling for Instagram shoots and promoting new products. Her main joy, however, comes from going into a studio with a concept in mind, putting in the hard work, and coming out the end with a result she is personally proud of.

She also spends her time raising money for various charities. Miss Universe Australia has a longstanding partnership with children’s charity ToyBox Australia. ToyBox is a charity which supports Australia’s sick and disadvantaged children. ToyBox purchases vital, industry-leading equipment and therapy to conquer the challenges life has brought these children. Billie is currently raising money for these children in need here.

Billie is an avid helper to her close friends. One definite plan is to be involved in her friend’s new start-up business. She hopes to promote as much as she can and dreams to enjoy the experience of becoming Creative Director – as she approaches the next chapter of her life.

Women’s Representation Online

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When asked how she views female representation online there was no hesitation in her answer,

“Women should represent themselves however they want people to see them. I don’t think it’s possible to fit all that women are capable of into a one-size box.”

Making sure her female followers view her as her genuine self, is the type of message she wants to put out there. Highlighting that all women should feel comfortable expressing themselves, however they choose to.

Unfortunately, society is quick to judge, especially on appearances. Billie is pushing the idea that women do not need to shy away just because they are influenced by another person’s views.

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