By Brendan Rees
Cranbourne North’s Catherine Ayad is on cloud nine after being crowned Miss Australia International for 2018.
The delighted 24 year-old was announced this year’s winner at a glittering ceremony in Sydney on the 22 February which recognised gifted women from across the country.
“It was so surreal when they announced the first runner up and I knew I won,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to take my first walk as Miss Australia International 2018.”
“The first thing I did was look up and thank god for this incredible opportunity then I blew a kiss to my mother in the crowd.
“I had my mum fly up from Melbourne and friends from Sydney attend. It was so encouraging knowing they are there supporting me.”
Born in Egypt and raised in Australia, Ms Ayad decided on Fitted for Work as her charity, where she volunteers her time helping dress disadvantaged women to embrace their individuality.
“We also work to re-stablish a woman’s self-confidence and resilience and we do this through our woman kind and mentoring programs.”
Fitted for Work, she says, raised $2392 during a fundraiser event held in Melbourne on 16 February.
Ms Ayad will travel to America in July where she will and represent Australia for the Mrs, Miss and Miss Teen International pageant with 69 other women competing from around the globe.
“I am hoping whilst I’m there to raise as much awareness for Fitted for Work as possible and ensure everyone knows what they do. I am so excited, nervous and cannot wait to travel.”
Ms Ayad hopes to inspire young women around the world to achieve their dreams.
She says: “Don’t ever look at others’ success and think it happened over night. It just doesn’t work that way. I still have so much to do but I don’t let that over shadow how far I’ve come.”
Ms Ayad says leading up to the crowning ceremony was an emotional rollercoaster.
“It was like the whole world stopped for a minute and all my hardships and challenges made sense and made this worth it.”
“I am so thankful for every lesson learnt, every challenge faced and every hardship I had to push through because it brought me here.”
“Faith, discipline and courage led me here,” she added.
If you are interested in donating to Fitted for Work please visit the website at https://fittedforwork.secure.force.com/Donate/20162.