The West

First-time finalists ready for pageant
Miss World Contestants Amy Chandler, leftg, Ebony Page, Carla Van Der Walt, Lauren Ashlea Fraser, Laura Ashley Gilbert, Natalie Connor and Imogen Whitton. Lincoln Baker/The West Australian.

To reach the national finals of Miss World Australia is quite the achievement.

But even more impressive is that, for seven of the eight WA finalists competing this year, this is their first competitive pageant.

Next month Ebony Page, Lauren Ashlea Fraser, Laura Ashley Gilbert, Carla Van Der Walt, Imogen Whitton, Natalie Connor, Rahdee Hegney, and former Miss Universe contestant Amy Chandler will travel to the Hunter Valley in NSW for the national final. Throughout the competition the girls have busied themselves putting the pageant's "beauty with a purpose" campaign into action.

Between them they've made bracelets, put on fashion shows, run children's carnivals and sold doughnuts to help raise funds for Variety Australia.

As a certified instructor and with a black belt in Soo Bahk Do, Ms Connor raised funds by teaching self- defence classes for women.

"It was the syllabus I was going to use for survivors of domestic violence over in the Philippines but a typhoon hit so I couldn't teach it," the 21-year-old said. WA Academy of Performing Arts graduate Ms Ashlea Fraser sang to raise more than $3000 but it's her striking hair that she hopes will make a statement.

"When I grew up I got bullied for having red hair and and it would be nice to kind of be a role model for redheads," the 23-year-old said.

Before they leave for the finals the girls are holding a masquerade ball at the Hyatt on July 12 in a final fundraising effort.

The West Australian

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