A criminal profiler from Melbourne with an incredible life story has been named Miss World Australia 2017.
Esma Voloder, 25, has come a long way from the refugee camp she and her family escaped in the midst of the Bosnian war more than two decades ago.
Esma has come a long way from the refugee camp she and her family escaped in the midst of the Bosnian war more than two decades ago.
‘The Islam that I know, that is in the Koran, I don’t associate that with any acts that are occurring around the world,’ she said after taking the crown.
‘People tend to blame religion for the atrocities that are happening, but if we do that we take responsibility away from the individuals.’
‘And then we are not able to assess them, and deal with them effectively, because we are blaming an external source,’ she added.
Esma hopes that she can break down the misconceptions that have haunted the Islamic faith.
The seasoned pageant competitor, who practices Islam, hopes to use the title to help break down the prejudices that surround her religion.
‘I believe Islam is about peace and inclusion’
‘A lot of things have been misconstrued about Islam,’ she said.
‘I feel that a category has been created that is not really what the Quran actually promotes. I believe Islam is about peace, unity, prosperity and inclusion.’
Esma moved to Australia when she was just five months old and in 2008 was named Miss Teen Australia.
She went on to compete in a number of pageants as well as pursue fashion and modelling, but education was always her number one priority.
Esma earned a degree in psychology and is now works as a criminal profiler in Melbourne.
On Friday Esma took home the $68,000 pearl-encrusted crown after competing against girls from across the nation at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne.
Judges includes comedian David Hughes, Real Housewives of Melbourne star Janet Roach, and Miss Thailand Jinnita Buddee.
Attendees included reality stars like Nadia Stamp from Married At First Sight and Rhys Chilton of The Bachelorette.
As the newest Miss World Australia titleholder, Esma will also be the ambassador for Thailand Tourism and Novo shoes.
But the Bosnian beauty said she hopes she can inspire unity with her platform.
‘Despite what your personal beliefs are, if we all believe in what is good, we can work together and make this world a beautiful and liveable place while we are here.’