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Beauty that isn t just skin deep
Beauty that isn't just skin deep

From *Perth *-raised supermodel *Megan Gale *to the two consecutive Miss Universe Australia titleholders *Scherri-Lee Biggs *and *Renae Ayris *, *WA *is renowned for turning out some of the world's most beautiful women.

But for Miss Galaxy WA finalists *Jessica White *, *Inga Lederhaus *and *Gemma Taylor *, competing in the pageant, which launched in Australia last year, means far more than just being blessed with good looks.

The trio are among 18 local beauties who have been hand-picked to compete for the four WA titles, which will be contested in a series of Perth heats next month.

But despite their diverse, gorgeous looks - Taylor is of Malaysian/Chinese heritage, Lederhaus has inherited her exotic looks from her Bosnian-born parents, while blonde stunner White is the epitome of a true blue Aussie gal - all three told _AAA _ that they were out to prove brains and beauty could go hand-in-hand.

White, who has walked in fashion shows and done fashion photo shoots, said the appeal of Miss Galaxy was that it was not entirely centred on external beauty.

"It's definitely about inner beauty," she said.

"The (Miss Galaxy Australia) director, * Lucinda *( *Cox *), said to us: 'Girls, don't worry about fad diets and all that stuff, it's all about your inner beauty and doing work for charity.' It's not about who looks the best or who is the best dressed."

Taylor has a wealth of experience in beauty pageants, which has earned her titles for Miss China WA and Miss Indy.

But the 29-year-old lawyer said age had proved a barrier in recent years, with some competitions imposing age limitations.

"A real focus for me, on top of focusing on inner beauty, was the fact that this pageant allows girls up to the age of 29 to enter," she said.

"Age shouldn't be a barrier to beauty. You can be beautiful at 19, you can be beautiful at 59.

"I also say beauty is very important but it's not going to get you far if you don't have the personality and intelligence to back it up."

Lederhaus, 27, has a string of pageant titles to her name including national finalist for Miss Indy 2012 and being named a top 60 Miss Universe WA contestant in 2010 and 2012.

She said she entered Miss Galaxy to promote healthy body image.

"The reason I decided to enter this year is because there are no size, height or shape limitations," she said.

"I'm not saying I'm a big girl, because I'm not, but I've been knocked back from (pageants) for being too curvy and too muscular.

"Health and body shape is becoming an ever-growing issue so I think we need to show that you can be a bit curvy and you can be healthy and you don't need to be a size four to be a pageant model, but I do understand that it is a requirement for fashion modelling."

Following the Perth heats, the WA finalists will fly to Sydney to compete for the national title. The Miss Galaxy International finals will be held in the US later this year.

VANESSA WILLIAMS

'Girls, don't

worry about fad diets and all that stuff, it's all about your inner beauty and doing work for charity.'