Meet our unconvential Miss World contender
OUR unconventional Miss World contender has declared her support for same- sex marriage as she prepares for the prestigious pageant.
Esma Voloder is due to fly to China today for the annual competition, vying for the crown against 139 other women from across the globe. The title will be announced on November 18.
The 25-year-old stunner told The Daily Telegraph yesterday she believed acceptance and respect were important parts of Aussie life.
"I think it is Australian culture to have acceptance and these are the things we should continue to focus on and continue to talk about with respect," Voloder told The Daily Telegraph, adding when asked about the marriage equality debate: "I believe that everyone has equal rights."
Voloder worked as a criminal profiler before winning the Miss World Australia title in July and dedicating herself full-time to the cause for the next year.
Her Islamic faith sparked some criticism when she was handed her Australian crown, but the former social science and psychology student said she was prepared for that.
"I am not a representative or a teacher of Islam. I try to be really careful with what I say because I just do the best I can from my understanding," she said yesterday.
"Whether it is about my faith or my looks, criticism is something that is to be expected. Coming from a psychological background, I guess I am just trying to learn how to remain positive.
"If we want to talk about my faith and bring that into it - it teaches me why I am here and to focus on the ultimate goal, which is to do charity, do good ... and to do the best you can with the time you have to be the best person that you can."
The 25-year-old was born in a refugee camp after her family fled the Bosnian war of the early 1990s. The family settled in Australia a short time later.
Voloder said her faith was an important part of her life but did not solely define her.
"I never focused on (Islam) as something that defined my identity," she said.
"It is something I bring into my life to find a way to live it to the best of my abilities and I practise it in my life and I guess I am the example of what I believe in.
"I believe in an afterlife and I believe in God and I believe that our actions here are really important."
Voloder said her faith informed her work as Miss World Australia.
"Knowing that I am watched constantly and knowing that my deeds are being held accountable and I have a responsibility to humanity while I am here, that is what I tend to focus on," she said.
"I always do my best to be the representation of what I find in my faith to be the truth."