Courtney Thorpe | Miss World Australia 2014 Shares All

But as they say; nothing worth having comes easily. I began my freelance styling business at sixteen and networking quickly took over my life.

Networking is essentially the most important aspect to rising in the fashion industry, but it is no use having the contacts in the industry if you can't impress them with your creativity, skills and most importantly your knowledge. Whilst I revelled in gaining experience backstage at fashion weeks and photoshoots around the country, I was also exploring my other passion of working with children by studying primary education. Originally my fall back plan if my romance with the fashion industry tragically failed, but it quickly proved to be of equal importance to me. My years of studying continued, and have never really stopped and I have since received qualifications in various fields including journalism, public relations, makeup artistry and have plans of studying a bachelor of laws in the future.

Courtney Thorpe | Miss World Australia 2014 | Photography by Elizabeth Grinter

Gaining further education proved to be a huge benefit for my career, not only as it padded out my resume, but it gave me the confidence to put myself out there further in the industry and helped to set me apart from the thousands of others all desperate to break into the fashion world. Soon after beginning journalism I came across a fashion internship at an online magazine, which I was not only lucky enough to land, but after two weeks I was also offered the role of fashion editor. It was this life changing opportunity that really opened a lot of doors for my career. Since then I have worked as the style director and event coordinator for a large scale Australian fashion week and as a stylist for various designers and brands, before being offered my current position at a leading fashion institute as the Head of the Styling Department, which has given me the opportunity to use both my education and fashion background to mentor students in a variety of areas including styling, fashion journalism, retail and events.

I often have people ask me how I was lucky enough to get the opportunities that I have in the industry, and my answer is simple. I worked for it. None of those opportunities came along easily. Back in the early days my friends and family often used to question and doubt my direction and willingness to continue to volunteer for unpaid experience and work insane hours, often asking me if it was really worth it, and I would always tell them the same thing; it will be. And it was. I am nowhere near "making it" in the fashion industry, but I am proud of how far I have come, and I will continue work as hard I can until I do. Not just because I want to be successful, but because it's my dream, and I really do think there is something to be said for the people that don't give up on their dreams. I have just been crowned Miss World Australia 2014 and I am thrilled to be able to combine my love of the fashion industry and working with children to start my own business and charity organisation, so stay tuned, because my fashion fairy-tale isn't over yet!

Courtney Thorpe | Miss World Australia 2014 | Photography by Elizabeth Grinter