COMPETING for the title of Miss Universe Australia was a "fish out of water" experience for down-to-earth Byron Bay businesswoman and part-time model Nina Hill.
The 27-year-old Southern Cross University journalism graduate spent all of last week in Melbourne adhering to a hectic schedule of interviews and fashion parades in her pitch for the title.
While she said she had "no regrets" about entering the competition, the former Lismore High student said she was never 100% comfortable with the idea of contesting a beauty pageant.
"I was entered last year by someone else," Ms Hill said.
"I kind of laughed at the idea when I was asked to go through to the heats, but then this year I thought 'why not?'," she said.
"I honestly don't think I would ever do it again, it was quite full on."
"It takes a lot out of you."
"The perception is that it comes across as being about brains, intelligence, and personality, but I had the feeling it had a lot to do with a certain look."
One challenge she encountered was whether to cover her tattoos or not. In the end she opted not to cover them up until the last show.
"I know you have to fit a certain image, but I didn't want to change who I was. I had that feeling that I kind of had to compromise part of who I was if I did want to win that final."
In the end it went to Melbourne medical student Olivia Wells, who Ms Hill said was a fantastic winner and would do intelligent things with her new profile.
"They're actually amazing women; there were some really inspiring girls," Ms Hill said.
And she said being challenged outside her comfort zone won't ever dampen the adventurous spirit that led her to contest the pageant in the first place.
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