Canberra's glamorous and community-minded Miss World Australia contenders

The ACT's Miss World contenders Lydia Harland and Krishna Shukla strut their stuff against the new Malabar Lane murals in Dickson. Picture: Keegan Carroll
The ACT's Miss World contenders Lydia Harland and Krishna Shukla strut their stuff against the new Malabar Lane murals in Dickson. Picture: Keegan Carroll

It's the Miss World competition affected by a world pandemic.

It's been delayed and postponed and the Australian representative is unlikely to be able to attend in person the pageant final in Puerto Rico in December.

But that hasn't deterred two Canberra women from persevering, proudly representing their community in the Miss World competition while raising funds for Variety, the Children's Charity.

Lydia Harland and Krishna Shukla say they are motivated by giving back to the community. Picture: Keegan Carroll

Lydia Harland and Krishna Shukla say they are motivated by giving back to the community. Picture: Keegan Carroll

Krishna Shukla, an Australian National University commerce graduate now working at Parliament House and Lydia Harland, who is in her final year of physiotherapy at the University of Canberra, are the ACT's contenders in the competition.

They are among 34 finalists from NSW and the ACT who will compete in the next stage, the NSW final in Sydney on June 23. After that will be the national and world rounds.

The ACT has performed well in past competitions.

Canberra's own Sophie Lavers won Miss World Australia in 2009, representing the nation in the global final in South Africa. Miss Gibraltar was crowned Miss World that year, and some years later also became the mayor of Gibraltar.

 Canberra's Sophie Lavers won Miss World Australia in 2009. Picture: Paul Miller

Canberra's Sophie Lavers won Miss World Australia in 2009. Picture: Paul Miller

Krishna, 23, hopes to be the first global winner of Miss World from the ACT.

The young professional, who was highly commended in the individual community service section of this year's Young Canberra Citizen of the Year, has been waiting for more than year for the competition to be finalised after originally signing up for the 2020 Miss World, which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She has always wanted to make a difference in the community.

Krushna has raised more than $3500 for Variety, the Children's Charity. Picture: Keegan Carroll

Krushna has raised more than $3500 for Variety, the Children's Charity. Picture: Keegan Carroll

"I've been fundraising for a very long time and volunteering with charities since I was 16," she said.

Among her recent community initiatives was handing out free face masks to the homeless during the height of the pandemic.

She was motivated to be part of Miss World because she was inspired by its "beauty with purpose" motto and has so far raised more than $3000 for Variety, saying "children are the greatest asset of a nation".

And she does enjoy the glam aspect of the competition.

"I think what matters most to me is being timely and relevant to my community," she said.

"My parents came to this country as immigrants and worked hard and gave back and I'm proud to be doing the same."

Lydia Harland, 22, is in her final year of physiotherapy studies at the University of Canberra. Picture: Keegan Carroll

Lydia Harland, 22, is in her final year of physiotherapy studies at the University of Canberra. Picture: Keegan Carroll

Lydia was approached late in the piece by the Miss World organisers to compete after other contenders had to drop out because the event was delayed for a year due to the pandemic.

The 22-year-old from Kambah was more than happy to participate, also believing in the Miss World motto and putting her heart and soul into fundraising for Variety, while juggling her uni placement at Active Recovery. She said she wanted to "make a difference in the lives of Australian kids in need".

"It's all happened so quickly, it's been a bit overwhelming, but I'm very excited," Lydia said.

The former Telopea High and Narrabundah College student said it was also fun to glam up after a year of lockdowns, shutdowns and cancelled events.

"It's not every day you get to dress up in a lovely gown, I'm usually in my active wear, being a physio," she said.

  • You can donate to Lydia Harland's fundraising for Variety, the Children's Charity here.
  • You can donate to Krishna Shulka's fundraising for Variety, the Children's Charity here.

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This story The ACT women ready to take on the world in pandemic pageant first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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