The glitz and glamour of beauty pageants is not all that has attracted Shepparton twin sisters Fitina and Neema Maulidi to the catwalk.
Both young women, aged 19, have recently developed an interest in well-known competitions such as Miss Teen Australia, Miss Diamond Australia and Miss World Australia.
For Fitina, who is currently studying health science at La Trobe University in Bundoora, competing in pageants is a new interest that started in April this year when she entered Miss Diamond Australia.
During the competition she won two titles: Miss Fitness Queen and Miss Teen Public Choice.
Fitina and Neema migrated to Australia from Congo when they were children and believe pageants offer young refugees a chance to increase their self-confidence by doing something outside their comfort zone.
‘‘Our aim is to empower other young kids to chase their dreams because it’s never too late,’’ Fitina said.
‘‘It’s not about winning, it’s about making friends. It’s about your inner beauty.’’
Fitina has also competed in Miss World Australia where she placed in the top 15 out of 45 other women in the state finals.
She is also set to compete in Miss Global Australia next month, Miss Fashion Week Australia in October, Miss Continents and Face of Beauty International in India during September.
Neema, who is currently completing Year 12 at Notre Dame College, will compete in Miss Diamond Australia in December.
This will be her first pageant and Fitina said the pair was looking forward to one day competing in the same competitions together and eventually starting their own pageant.