The packing list for Gabrielle Keaton's tilt at the world title arrived this week.
That is, the world finals of Miss Multiverse beauty and talent competition, to be held in the resort city of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Keaton, 21, of New Lambton, won the Australian competition in August. She will face a field of 30 women from around the world over two weeks of physical and mental challenges beginning November 18. After two weeks, the field is narrowed to 10 and they commence another week of competition before a winner is crown.
The Miss Multiverse formula is relatively new, and the entire experience is filmed and packaged as a reality TV series that is popular in Central and South American countries.
The packing list includes eight cocktail dresses (four specific colours), two evening gowns, a “national” dress, a formal dress, two active wear outfits, two business outfits, one red bikini, one white bikini, one black bikini, and accessories to match.
Keaton will travel on her own – no manager, no make-up artist, no family. A sales assistant at the Carla Swimwear’s Sea Folly franchise store at Charlestown, she’s new to the world of competitive modelling and competition.
She laughs about her first modelling experience: in December 2016 a couple starting a shop in Taree asked her if she would model some T-shirts for their brand. Her first images in Vidacruz T-shirts were shot with an iPhone.
It’s safe to say, she’s come a long ways.
“Now, I’m in Maxim’s next issue, wearing swimmers,” she says. “I have a campaign shoot for active wear next week, so it’s really exciting.”
The hard work of preparing for the Australian competition has paid off. She was rising at 5.30am,working out, going to her job for a full work day, getting home in the dark, going to the gym, eating dinner and going to bed. That was six days a week of work, two nights of soccer practice and a weekend game, one day of volunteering at Hunter Valley Zoo and going to Sydney for competition prepping on her day off.
“I did question myself, ‘is this worth it?’, she says in an interview this week. “But I’m not a quitter.”
Winning the Australian competition reassured her that she had the right attitude.
“I’m more sure of myself. I have a title. I am good enough,” she says.
And thus, she feels more comfortable heading into an international competition, even in faraway Dominican Republic.
“If the competition is right for me, … the judges will look at you as a whole as a person. I’m not going to have a plan or strategy, that’s focused on changing your behaviour. I don’t want to become so focused on winning I forget about the whole experience.”
A country girl at heart, raised on a property near Bulahdelah, Keaton is taking the experience in stride. For her, it’s already a win-win proposition.