A new year’s resolution to say yes to opportunities when they arise has proved exciting for 21-year-old Cloncurry girl, Mikaela Tapp.
Mikaela was announced as the 2018 Queensland Country Life Miss Showgirl at Ekka last week. Understandably emotional, Mikaela said she was shocked and excited to be crowned Miss Showgirl.
“It's going to open so many doors, and it's going to be something that I never thought I would experience because I come from a little country town,” she said.
After a busy weekend celebrating the win, Mikaela said it was great to share the experience with her family.
“It was great to spend time with them at the Ekka because they've never been and it was my first year,” she said.
“It was great to experience a little bit behind the scenes as well as the full Ekka experience, so it's been wonderful.”
Born and raised in Cloncurry, Mikaela works at the Ernest Henry Mine as a training admin assistant, and is heavily involved in her local community as the secretary and treasurer of the Cloncurry Lions Club, as well as a committee member for the Cloncurry C150 Celebrations and Beat the Heat Festival.
Mikaela said trying to get young people involved in the Cloncurry Lions Club and other community clubs in her town is something she’s passionate about.
“Getting young people involved is something high on my priority list in Cloncurry,” she said. “Helping out in their community is something I think every town and young person should do.”
Deciding this was the year to start saying yes to opportunities when they arose, Mikaela said the Showgirls competition was one of many firsts for her.
“I decided this year I was going to give it a go and look where I've ended up,” she said.
“I've never missed a Cloncurry show, so I've always seen showgirls at the show and I always wanted to be a part of what they stood for. We've got a wonderful show in Cloncurry and I think that's why this year when I decided to take opportunities, I thought, this year I'm going to be a showgirl and help my community and help the show.”
Returning to Cloncurry with her sash firmly on display will be an exciting day.
“I got so much support from my town and everyone was cheering me on, and to come back as the winner, bringing that experience and knowledge back with me, I think they're just going to be over the moon,” she said.
“It's such a great little community and everyone is very supportive of each other and we all look out for each other, so being able to bring that back and share that with them, is going to be great.
“I can't wait to get home to see everyone – it's going to be fantastic.”
Gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience from the opportunity, Mikaela encouraged people to have a go.
“You get to do so many amazing opportunities and events, and you get to grow as a person,” she said. “Everything you do as a showgirl, benefits either you or someone else. It's a great thing for young people to get involved with their show and with the showgirl movement.”
READ ALSO: Our profile on Mikaela’s dad Wayne Tapp
Mikaela did not expect to win.
“I didn't think I was going to get past sub-chamber, let alone win Ekka, so it's all up to you, and you are such a powerful person once you put your mind to something, so I really think people should get involved.”
Reflecting on the experience, Mikaela said the biggest thing she will take away from the Ekka is learning about all of the different people involved in a show.
“There are so many different sections and everyone has such an important part, and it's great to be able to meet the people behind the scenes,” she said.
“A lot goes into both your local show and the Ekka, and I really think it's great to meet all those people.
“I've found it's been amazing to meet so many diverse people and it's really been fantastic.”
Mikaela said she wanted to thank everyone she had met along the way through her local show all the way up to Ekka, as well as the other competitors in the Miss Showgirl competition.
“A lot of times people don't get recognition for the great work they do, so thank you to everyone that I've met that's put in the hard yards and made a wonderful show for everyone,” she said.
“A big shout out and thank you to the other girls – they’re amazing.
“They're lovely girls and they're going to be leaders in their towns and communities, and they've got a real passion for what they do.
“They’ve made it the best week.”
Georgia Hoolihan, from Dirranbandi in south-west Queensland was named runner up in the hotly contested competition.
Ms Hoolihan said it was her first time at the Ekka and she was thrilled with the opportunity.
Caitlin Stanford, Herbert River, was chosen by her fellow showgirls as Miss Popular.