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Bosnian refugee Monika Radulovic crowned Miss Universe Australia. A shining example of immigation gone right

WE LOVE YOU MONICA RADULOVIC

Monika Radulovic celebrates after being crowned Miss Universe Australia 2015.image www.goodgirlsgo.com

Monika Radulovic celebrates after being crowned Miss Universe Australia 2015.

A Bosnian refugee whose parents fled their war-torn town with little more than “the shirts on their backs” has been crowned Miss Universe Australia.

Monika Radulovic, from Botany in NSW, was four years old when her parents left their home in civil war-embroiled Zavidovici.

“They literally left everything behind, they packed a small suitcase and fled,” the 24-year-old told Fairfax Media. “They arrived in Australia with nothing.”

Monika Radulovic celebrates after being crowned Miss Universe Australia 2015.image www.goodgirlsgo.com (2)

The University of Western Sydney psychology graduate beat 34 others to the title at the fifth annual Miss Universe Australia pageant and will next represent Australia at the Miss Universe international final at the end of the year.

Speaking at the ceremony in Melbourne on Friday night, she paid tribute to her parents’ courage.

“My parents basically had just the shirts on their backs, so they are definitely my inspirations and my heroes so it’s great to do them proud,” she said.

Monika Radulovic moved to Australia when she was five image www.goodgirlsgo.com
Miss Universe Australia, Bosnian refugee Monika Radulovic, shortly after arriving in Australia in 1994.

Miss Universe Australia, Bosnian refugee Monika Radulovic, shortly after arriving in Australia in 1994. Photo: Monika Radulovic

Miss Radulovic told Fairfax Media that she and her newborn brother Stefan relied on charity from the local church and goodwill from their new neighbours while their parents, formerly a lawyer and an architect, struggled to learn English and find work after arriving in 1994.

Friday was doubly memorable for her parents as it marked the day they “finally” took complete ownership of their Botany home.

“It was such a special day for our family in so many ways,” said an “elated and shocked” Miss Radulovic who last year made an unsuccessful attempt at the title.

Women in the pageant were scrutinised in swimwear, eveningwear and questions and answers categories. Questions in the final round of the competition centred on social issues, including bullying, social media and governmental responses to violence.

“I hope in 50 years time we won’t be asking this question at Miss Universe Australia,” Miss Radulovic said in her response to a question about extremism posed by a judging panel that included Sydney neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo, Real Housewives Of Melbourne cast member Gina Liano and former Today show entertainment reporter Richard Reid.

Runner up was Queenslander Madeleine Cowe, 22, and Chanel Stewart, 19, also from NSW, was placed third.

Miss Radulovic, who joins former winners Jennifer Hawkins, Laura Dundovic and Jesinta Campbell, said she intends to claim the world title for Australia.

“I want to be a positive ambassador for Australia. I can’t see why we shouldn’t win – it’s not about me, I’m just the messenger.”

Besides Sydney, the only place she can see herself living, she added, was the Miss Universe apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Towers.

ooo

Henry Sapiecha