Altona Meadows woman Lakshana Soopaul has made it through to the 2020 Miss World Australia state final.
She was among 30 contestants in the preliminary final held at The Trust Melbourne on Saturday and one of 17 through to the next stage.
Lakshana, 22, is studying a Bachelor of Science, after which she plans to become a doctor of physiotherapy.
She and her family migrated from Mauritius about six years ago.
“Because of my background, I’ve had the privilege to learn five languages from a very young age,” she said.
“I’m fluent in English, French, Mauritian creole, Hindi and Bhojpuri.”
Lakshana said she spent almost her entire life “on the unhealthy side of the scale” until three years ago when she started her fitness journey and lost about 38 kilograms.
“I am someone who has struggled my whole life, so that was when I really started believing in myself,” she said. “I was not healthy, as well.
“When I lost weight, it kind of made me fit in my body and in my mind, also.”
Lakshana also competed in the 2019 title, raising the most money (more than $8500) of any Victorian contestant for Variety – the Children’s Charity.
Ahead of the state final, to be held mid next year, Lakshana is again fundraising for Variety as part of the pageant.