Queanbeyan will have its first representative in 42 years at the state-wide showgirl final next week.
Keeley Pasfield won the zone finals held in Bungendore earlier this month and will head to the Sydney Royal Easter Show to represent the region in the hope of being named the ultimate winner.
Ms Pasfield said despite the win still feeling a bit surreal she was excited to represent the region and compete for a platform to make a change in rural communities.
Working as an exercise physiologist Ms Pasfield has a particular interest in rural health and improving access to health services.
Ms Pasfield will be one of 12 women competing in Sydney for the title but she said it had been a very positive experience from start to finish.
“I know this sounds cheesy, but I feel like I’ve already won,” she said.
“This has been the least competitive competition I’ve ever been in.”
Ms Pasfield said rather than nasty comments or in-fighting, her time spent with the other competitors has been a learning experience and getting to meet lots of people passionate about their regions.
One of the highlights for Ms Pasfield was a deportment course in Dubbo, which did indeed include a class with the women walking with books on their heads.
But despite some of the less practical components, which Ms Pasfield said were really a bit of a laugh, she found the lessons on interviewing, presenting yourself and public speaking very useful.
Ultimately Ms Pasfield hopes her experience will encourage other young women to involve themselves with their local shows. She said she would like to visit local school to educate students on what the experience has to offer.
Ms Pasfield said it was important to remember the competition is not a beauty pageant.
“You won’t see me getting up in a bikini and telling people I love Queanbeyan and want world peace,” she said.
She said it was about finding an ambassador for women in regional communities and keeping the show movement alive and remembering its core values while still appealing to a new and younger audience.
The winner of the showgirl competition will be announced on March 25 at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.