Tarneit’s Akuac Arik says she decided to enter a beauty pageant to develop her self-confidence and inspire other young women.

Ms Arik, 22, will travel to Sydney for the Miss Sahara pageant, to be held on April 13.

The pageant, sponsored by the Community Migrant Resource Centre in Parramatta, aims to celebrate the diversity of African women in Australia, build social cohesion and raise awareness of Africa’s different cultures.

Ms Arik, who was born to South Sudanese parents, said the Miss Sahara event would be her first pageant, although she has done some modelling work in the past.

She said she was inspired to enter after seeing videos of all the girls who took part in last year’s pageant on Instagram.

Photo by Damjan Janevski.

“I’m looking forward to just having more confidence, getting up in front of all the people, meeting all the other girls and also the mentors,” she said.

“I think they will have two mentors, including last year’s winner.”

Ms Arik said she used to be fairly shy, but had grown in confidence during the past two years.

She said that doing new things, such as Miss Sahara, helped to increase her confidence.

“I want to inspire other young girls as well,” she said.

Ms Arik hopes to do more work in the modelling field and is studying interior design.