SELF-CONFESSED "typical nerd" Zinnia Janif says she is using a beauty pageant to smash social stereotypes.
The 23-year-old Hinchinbrook resident is one of 35 national finalists up for the title of Miss World Australia.
The crowning will take place this weekend at the Hunter Valley.
"I was quite a shy nerdy girl who always wore clothes three sizes too big," she said.
"I guess I was your typical nerd — too shy to talk to boys, loved science and played far too many video games."
Miss Janif said things changed when she made a new year's resolution to step out of her comfort zone.
"The idea behind it was that I'd have to say yes to every new opportunity that came my way, no matter how afraid I felt.
"It's actually quite funny how I joined Miss World. I was speaking with Miss Earth China last year and realised I did a lot of community work and she suggested I try for Miss World Australia.
"I thought it was a great idea as Miss World gives young women a platform to continue and gain awareness for community-based work."
Miss Janif went to Miller Technology High School and is now studying for a Bachelor of Advanced Science in Ecology at the University of Sydney.
"I'd like to remind people that it just doesn't matter where you come from or what your socio-economic status is or what school you went to.
"If you're positive, resilient and have the desire, motivation and determination to go towards your goals fearlessly you'll see magical things happen. Just don't give up."