DUBAI: Bosnian Muslim Esma Voloder, who fled her warn-torn roots has been named Miss World Australia 2017.
Voloder, 25, spent time in a refugee camp before her parents fled their native Bosnia during the war that raged on from 1992-1995. She came to Australia as a 5-month-old baby and has come a long way since then.
Not only is Voloder a seasoned pageant competitor, but she also has a degree in psychology.
My heart is full ❤️😌 Gratitude and joy overtook me last night as I was crowned @missworldaustralia 2017 at @grandhyattmelbourne 👑 Last night re-affirmed that dreams really can become realities. We have all heard this and some of us have been fortunate to not only think it, but truly know it… though it has never prevented the doubt that creeps up on us… it is faith in the best outcome provides us with the strength and motivation to do our best and continue striving. So many people I would like to give a whole hearted thank you to- My family for your love and support. Miss World Australia team and @pageantqueenaus (Miss World Australia director) for your kindness, understanding, faith and trust in me. The judges who represented diverse and relevant elements and industries in Australia that I admire- from an organisation dedicated to helping those in need and giving women opportunity, comedy to keep us light hearted, fashion that keeps us feeling who we are, health and fitness which equips us with the energy to chase our dreams and send positive messages, and reality which showcases bravery to be who we are in front of a large audience. To @phuketpearls for the stunning crown inspired by the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge-it is so appreciated and considerate of you to have incorporated iconic Australian culture into your carefully handcrafted masterpiece, it is so beautiful and I love it dearly <3 The @hugthailand for your partnership and hospitality- I am so very excited to travel to the land of smiles once I have an extra big one to bring to your country 😁 @ozwearaustralia , @novoshoes and all our other sponsors for their generously donated gifts (products, thoughts, hospitality and love) . Each time I received something I felt so spoilt and meeting some of you has been a pleasure you are all so infectious and it really does translate in your products. Thank you for having myself as your ambassador. It has been a blessing to raise funds under #beautywithaprpose and for @varietyaustralia . Thank you Australia- for giving me a home and opportunity to do good 🙏🏻 #missworldaustralia2017
A Muslim herself, Voloder says she hopes to use her title to change the stereotypes surrounding Islam, which she says is often “misconstrued.” “The Islam that I know, that is in the Qur’an, I don’t associate that with any acts that are occurring around the world,” Voloder stated after her crowning ceremony. “People tend to blame religion for the atrocities that are happening, but if we do that we take responsibility away from the individuals.”
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The seasoned pageant competitor told the crowd that she feels “a category has been created that is not really what the Qur’an actually promotes” and that she firmly believes “Islam is about peace, unity, prosperity and inclusion.”
Voloder currently works as a criminal profiler in Melbourne.