Acholly Arow has a firm message for all young people: never lose sight of your dreams.
The Victoria University student was recently selected to represent her native South Sudan in the 2019 Miss International beauty pageant, to be held in Tokyo in November.
“I have dreamt about representing South Sudan in the Miss International beauty pageant for quite a long time,” she said. “I am a firm believer in encouraging the youth to follow their dreams, no matter how much it scares them.”
Ms Arow, 25, moved from South Sudan to Australia with her family at the age of eight. She became involved in beauty pageants in her teens to help build her confidence, finding a platform that has helped her highlight issues she is passionate about.
The political science student has set her sights on tackling violence against women and hopes to one day take her place as a member of Parliament.
“I think there should be more women at the decision-making table,” she said.
Ms Arow paid tribute to her “loving family” for their support. “Thank you everyone for the love and support, it has been overwhelming and I’ll do my best to make you proud.”
The 2019 Miss International pageant will be held November 12 in Tokyo, Japan.