Alice Su’s father told her getting married and having children should be her priorities in life.

“Dad is Chinese and mum is Vietnamese and they have very traditional views, they told me not to be too out-there, not to be too outspoken,” she said.

The 27-year-old first realised she could “dream big” when a motivational speaker came to her school in year 8. “When I heard his story, I thought ‘holy moly, none of what I thought is true’,” she said.

The revelation sparked a fire to educate other young people that life is what you make of it. And her own journey is the perfect example of the philosophy she’s trying to preach. Next month Ms Su will jet off to Charleston, in the US to compete in the Miss International World pageant.

It follows her recent crowning as Miss International Australia, a competition she gave no thought to winning, given she isn’t the stereotypical tall, blonde pageant entrant. But she will be the first Asian-Australian to represent Australia at the pageant.

Ms Su hopes her success will show other young women that there’s more to beauty than physical appearance.

“Beauty isn’t just about what we look like but the love and commitment we have for others.”