Australia’s winner of the Miss Universe competition expects some will be shocked not to see a blonde haired, blue-eyed girl representing the country.
When Francesca Hung steps up to the podium at the Miss Universe international competition later this year representing Australia, she will be breaking the mould in some ways.
The daughter of a Chinese father and Irish-Australian mother, Ms Hung admits she doesn’t look like past Australian winners.
“I think internationally everybody has an idea of what Miss Australia should look like,” the 24-year-old told SBS News.
“And I think it will be a little bit of a shock to everyone when a blonde hair, blue-eyed girl doesn’t walk out.
“I guess looking at your past winners – Jesinta Franklin, Rachael Finch and Jennifer Hawkins - I used to think that was the typical Australian girl that everyone wanted to be and look
Miss Hung beat 31 other women at the pageant final in Melbourne on Thursday to take the Miss Universe Australia crown.
The win stunned the Sydney-raised model. She says she didn’t even expect to make it through the state rounds let alone take the top spot.
Growing up in Sydney’s northern beaches, Ms Hung says she struggled with her identity in a relatively “white” suburb.
“I felt like, sort of different, a little bit embarrassed by my cultural heritage growing up,” she says.
“And now it’s something that I embrace and I’m so happy to be different. I want to really inspire and be a role model for any multicultural kid growing up.”
For many years Ms Hung struggled to break into the modelling world, but is unsure if her background was a factor in repeated rejections from various modelling agencies.
A trend towards Eurasian and pan-asian models recently has helped. She also credits David Jones ambassador Jessica Gomes for changing perceptions.
“Once she became the face of David Jones that definitely changed things for models with a multicultural background.”
Ms Hung hopes that the world takes notice of the ‘real’ multicultural Australia when she represents her country at the Miss Universe pageant this year.
“I think it will be really good for other counties to see that we are such a diverse country and forward thinking.”