As a Filipino-Aboriginal teenager from the small town of Cobram, Mariah Tejones has been smashing stereotypes around modelling.
Mariah, 14, has been selected to take part in the Miss Teen Galaxy Australia finals on the Gold Coast next month, along with 25 other contestants from across the country.
The pageant will have Mariah take part in a pageant workshop, rehearsals, modelling shoots and a swimwear competition.
There will also be an opportunity to take part in an ‘‘eco party’’ where contestants design their own environmentally friendly outfit to become the next ‘‘Miss Eco’’.
In preparation for the pageant, Mariah must raise money for Melbourne Zoo and the Make a Wish Foundation and make appearances across a number of organisations in the Goulburn Valley.
The Make a Wish Foundation has a special place in her heart, due to her frequent visits to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
She plans to head to an aged care facility in Cobram to spend time with the elderly, as well as volunteer for a local wildlife and rescue organisation, read to primary school-aged children and start an anti-bullying campaign.
Mariah’s mother, Jodie Miller, said the pageant was about more than beauty and modelling for her daughter.
‘‘This is more about making a change, rather than just the looks side,’’ Ms Miller said.
‘‘She says she wants to make a difference, no matter how big or small, and I’m just so proud of her.’’
Mariah said she was looking forward to the experience and making new friends from different states.
‘‘For me, being a half-indigenous half-Filipino girl from Cobram, it’s a pretty big thing,’’ she said.
If successful in the pageant, Mariah will head to the United States in June to take part in the Miss Teen Galaxy World pageant.
If you would like to help Mariah raise funds for Make a Wish Foundation, visit www.gofundme.com/pmekt3-make-a-wish-foundation
Mariah has been sponsored by Mentha’s Clothing and the Amy Newton Dance School.