GALLERY: How a pageant has changed a young woman's life
A CAREER in modelling was always a dream for Shannon Laycock. But when her family's life was thrown into chaos late last year it seemed as though may not happen.
Now she stands proudly as the winner of the Miss Mackay pageant.
For Miss Laycock, the show was the chance to renew her confidence after a tumultuous year.
"At Christmas time my family and I got hijacked in our car, and that impacted our lives dramatically," she said.
"My confidence from that point struggled, and I struggled from PTSD ... so anxiety and everything comes along with that.
"With most things I'm a bit hidden and shy, but this has given me the boost to let myself shine again."
The Miss Mackay pageant took place last Saturday at Ibis Hotel, with 20 competitors dazzling a crowd of more than 80 people.
Hosted by director and founder of Elite Avenue Modelling Academy, Louisa Bradley, the winner of the competition received a 12-month modelling contract with the academy to further their pursuits on the runway.
Participants were judged in four categories: talent, active wear, western wear and ballroom royalty. "Little Miss" and "Mini Tween" divisions were also incorporated into the show, as well as baby shows.
When she was announced as the Miss Mackay winner, Miss Laycock was speechless. She encouraged others who were struggling with a crisis in confidence.
"I had tears in my eyes and couldn't talk. I'm still coming to that I actually got the win," she said.
"Don't be scared, don't be shy and don't let those little things get in the way. If you want to do it, do it."
For some participants, such as Miss Mackay runner up Storm Bowyer, the event was an opportunity to impart some good into the world.
Miss Bowyer said a career in modelling would enable her to use the industry's platform to make a difference in her life and in the lives of others.
"I did a photo shoot to improve my self-esteem with Funky Photographic and then I was asked if I wanted to go into a pageant," she said.
"I thought, 'I've been working on my self-esteem and overall look on life', so I figured it would be a positive experience and went for it.
"Even if it's raising money for charities, I would like to do it with something that I enjoy but also makes a difference in the world."
Miss Mackay Pageant place winners:
- Mrs Mackay winner: Jenna Lee
- Miss Mackay winner: Shannon Laycock
- Miss Mackay runner-up: Storm Bowyer
- Teen Miss Mackay winner: Darci Everett
- Teen Miss Mackay runner up: Anamique Clare
- Tween Miss Mackay winner: Kiarra Laver
- Mini Tween Miss Mackay winner: Baylee Smith
- Little Miss Mackay: Stella Rose
- Public Choice winner: Elyssa Jane
- Miss Congeniality Mackay winner: Sherrie Therese