• 22-year-old Jenayah Elliott is determined to stand up against online trolls and continue to compete for Miss World Australia 2021. (NITV)Source: NITV
Proud Jaru woman, Jenayah Elliot, says she will continue to use her voice to show the next generation that they can be whatever they dream of - Including Miss World Australia.
Shahni Wellington

22 Jul 2021 - 8:19 AM  UPDATED 22 Jul 2021 - 8:19 AM

A First Nations pageant queen is adamant online trolls won't bully her out of contention for Miss World Australia, despite a barrage of racist abuse.

Currently residing in Boorlloo, Perth and originally from Halls Creek in the Kimberley region, Jaru woman Jenayah Elliot was crowned runner-up in the 2019 competition.

Despite her accomplishments, the journey hasn't been easy -  taking to social media on Monday to expose the messages sent to her in the process.

Comments shared on her personal page included horrific racial and derogatory slurs, such as "an aboriginee c**n will never be ms Australia" and "if capt cook did a better job breeding out ur black, you'd be much prettier."

Ms Elliott hopes that posting the screenshots will give the public an understanding of how First Nations people experience racism.

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The 22-year-old says she wants to improve school attendance in her hometown and is passionate about reducing alcohol and substance abuse.

“I just posted four screenshots of millions and I'm one of millions as well,” she said.

“It's always been around us in different formats and unfortunately, social media can be such an evil, nasty place where people can hide behind profiles and really say whatever they want.

“So it does hurt your spirit but it gives me strength at the same time, because it's a fire in my belly - it can't keep going on like this.”

With COVID-19 causing delays and cancellations for the ceremonies that followed, Ms Elliott is determined to take out the crown in the upcoming 2021 pageant.

The names and photos from the profiles were hidden as to not give any more unnecessary prevalence to the commenters.

According to the latest reports from the national online safety regulator, the number of people reporting behaviour such as cyberbullying, image-based abuse and sex-based extortion has more than tripled since coronavirus restrictions took effect.

Inspired by her Thumoo

While beauty pageants may not be as commonly known in some communities, Jenayah credits her inspiration to make a difference in the world to her Thumoo (grandfather).

After witnessing the 'shocking' discrimination against him while he was receiving medical care, she decided to advocate to achieve his dream of a "reconciled Australia."

He sadly passed just before the 2018 finals. 

The Miss World contender told NITV News her approach to life and competition is to keep spreading awareness of racism and to show love and kindness to everyone she encounters.

“Even people that don't have positive things to say I think that there's no point meeting hate with hate,” Ms Elliott said.

“While it [social media] can be a bad place, it can also be a good place to share stories and educational resources…”

“So using that and continuing to use my voice and hopefully in turn, encouraging other people to use theirs as well.”

If her dream comes true, Jenayah Elliott plans to establish an education fund to create schooling scholarships for children in the Kimberley region and other parts of regional Australia.

The 2021 Miss World Australia ceremony is scheduled to be held next month.

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