At 22-years-old, Maddison Hodder has experienced a great deal in her life.
From not having a father figure to growing up in foster care from the age of eight and losing her mother at 15, Maddison hasn't let these challenges define her and instead she has become an adaptable adult and a role model for young people.
While getting her hair done at Andy Pandy Hair Candy when she was 15, Maddison was told she should consider entering beauty pageants.
"I thought it was a good idea because it would allow me to get out there. I had previously done modelling and I had always been fond of being on stage," Maddison said.
This decision seven years ago has now resulted in Maddison becoming a national finalist for the 2021 Miss World Australia competition.
"I want to be a role model for young people, especially those who are in the foster care system. It is possible to achieve your goals," she said.
Miss World is the oldest-running international beauty pageant and since 1972 has been supporting the Beauty with a Purpose initiative, with participants fundraising for worthy causes in both the national and international Miss World competitions.
The Miss World Australia pageant has been held annually since 2002 and aims to highlight young Australian women who exemplify beauty, talent, intelligence and compassion while also empowering role models who are ambassadors for charities and positively impact their communities.
Maddison originally applied in 2019 for the 2020 Miss World Australia competition, however it was postponed due to Covid.
She will be attending the NSW State Finals of the competition on Wednesday, June 23, but due to her fundraising efforts for Variety - the Children's Charity, Maddison has already secured her place as a national finalist for the Miss World Australia competition.
"I have been in a number of Zoom meetings with the other girls and I will be competing against all the entrants from NSW on Wednesday.
"The focus for me after Wednesday will be the national competition and to continue fundraising."
Maddison has raised over $12,000 for Variety - the Children's Charity to help improve the lives of sick, disadvantaged and disabled children.
"I am very much supported by the community of Port Macquarie and I'm grateful that they have contributed to my fundraising efforts."
Maddison has been working with a mentor for the past five months in preparation for the competition and said she wants to make those who have supported her proud of what she has achieved.
"I'm the oldest of five siblings and being a role model to them and to other young people who grew up in foster care is important to me.
"There is a lot of stigma around children who grow up in foster homes and what it means for them, but I want to show everyone that it can be done.
"I'm very lucky to be in this community and to be so supported."
The Miss World Australia national competition will be held from July 6 to July 10 at the Palazzo Versace hotel on the Gold Coast.
To help Maddison in her fundraising efforts, donate to her Variety - the Children's Charity page.
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