Belief in beauty

Written by Kerrie Alexander

A former Maryborough resident is making her mark in the world of modelling after being named Miss Australia 2020.

Alexandra Ross, or Ali as she’s affectionately known to family and friends, has proved that dreams really can come true after being hand-selected by a pageant board to attend the three-day competition in Italy when Covid-19 travel restrictions ease.

Only two women from around Australia were chosen to represent the country which was a major coup for the former Aldridge High School student, who now lives in Singleton, New South Wales.

The three-day event will see women from around the world compete for the title of Miss Continental in swimwear, formal and evening wear, as well as eloquently voicing their opinions on worldly topics like politics and the environment.

The winner will secure a year-long contract in the fashion capital of the world.

“It took me months to wrap my head around it,” Ali said.

“A pageant board does the selecting and they found me through my work on Instagram … they said they had been watching me for a year or so and decided I was the appropriate candidate to represent Australia.

“The selection had a lot to do with how diverse my work can be, from swimwear to country clothing brands. I take a lot of pride in embracing my natural self.

“It’s not just about how we look though, we need to present ourselves well, speak well and have our own opinions; we have to have an awareness of the world around us.”

Getting to this point, however, has been an epic journey of discovery for the 24-year-old.

The glamourous Ali we see today is a far cry from the shy, insecure teenager who, at first, turned down a Maryborough talent scouts offer of taking part in a modelling competition.

“It was very nerve wracking at first. I wasn’t really sure how I’d go because I wasn’t a very confident person in myself.

“When I first got approached by a talent scout, I told tell my friends, and they told their friends and it went around the school quite quickly and I did have a lot of people say, ‘no there’s no way she could do that, she’s lying, she’s not pretty enough’.

“I was a bit young to know anything about it, so I didn’t end up going through with it.”

With the support of family and friends, Ali did end up finding the confidence to step out of her comfort zone and start modelling for some small companies in Maryborough and Hervey Bay.

But it wasn’t until she moved to Cairns at about 18, looking luminous and beaming with belief, that her Instagram and other social media pages caught the attention of several agencies who booked her for everything from swimwear shoots to becoming an ambassador for some major fashion labels.

“I was contacted by a few agencies and the jobs just started rolling in after that,” she said.

“It was beyond flattering to have all this interest in me, so I decided to take a leap of faith and see how I went.

“It’s taken me places that I never thought I could go. It’s been a huge confidence boost and it’s opened a lot of doors for me.

“You have to believe in yourself and know that you can do this. You get to the point where other people’s nasty comments, and there will be some, you just have to let them roll of your back and have that confidence in yourself.”

Ali’s focus is currently on being an ambassador for multiple brands such as Australian company Kader Boot Co, as well as staying in shape and looking her best for when it’s time to represent Australia in Italy – a part of the job that’s never ending.

A job could come in at a moment’s notice and looking your best with hair, nails and waxing done is imperative.

“I definitely think that it’s something most people don’t realise how much time and effort it actually takes to do this kind of job.

“It’s a lot of planning, preparation, and it can be so time consuming and then you have to feel so confident in yourself as well.”

Exercise and diet of course play a major role in the life of a model but if there’s one piece of advice Ali offers up regularly to her followers, it’s to listen to your body!

“I used to have really strict diet and exercise plans and that wasn’t me.

“I stuck to it so strictly and pushed myself so hard that I got into a really toxic pattern … I almost passed out at one of my shoots one day.

“I took a step back and had a think about what to do about that and I’m a huge believer in listening to your body because it tells you what it needs.

“Now, I usually go to the gym a couple of times of week, but I don’t strain myself until I’m on the ground anymore.

“I just keep up with regular exercise and just watch what I eat.

“I’m always going to treat myself to sweets and takeout here and there, but all in proportion.”

Ali said she looks forward to continuing her career in the world of modelling with her biggest fans, her fiancé and her parents, giving her all the inspiration she needs.

“I have the most wonderful family and friends, and a wonderful partner.

“They are all so supportive, I honestly don’t think I’d be where I am today without them backing me because it means more than anything to me to have their support and encouragement.

“They are very proud of me and that’s always heart-warming.”