Although she has described herself in the past as an “ugly-duckling”, opera singer Erin Holland proved this definitely wasn’t the case when she was crowned Miss World Australia on July 20.

Erin fundraised, sang, spoke and exercised her way to the top of judges’ scorebooks, and is now preparing for the Miss World international
competition in Indonesia.

Erin currently resides in Cremorne, but she still calls Queensland home. She lived in Cairns until she was 17, before receiving a scholarship to study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Erin has a busy few months ahead as she channels her efforts into charity fundraising, while keeping up her singing practice, however she finds time to chat to Sydney Observer.

Why did you enter the Miss World Australia competition?
Over the last couple of years I’ve been working in the entertainment industry, trying to get into musical theatre and presenting. If you look in the media and see the likes of Jen Hawkins and Rachel Finch they actually all came from competitions like Miss World. When I actually did a little bit more research I found I really resonated with Miss World and what it stands for.

What aspect of the Miss World pagaent particularly resonated with you?
It stands for so much more than just your run-of-the-mill beauty pageant, which a lot of people don’t know. It’s actually incredibly difficult to do well, because there are so many elements. You have to fundraise for one of the chosen charities. Then there’s the fitness fast track, which is a two-hour boot camp that you do. Then you have to perform a talent. There’s a runway show and there’s an overall appearance, health and wellbeing section, which is another name for the swimwear component. So there are a lot of parts to it as well, rather than just being a competition based on what you look like.

What part of the competition did you find the most challenging?
The fitness component is quite gruelling. You know you’re doing a boot camp for a couple of hours, which is generally pretty difficult. I actually entered the competition last year, it was my first ever pageant. The thing I remembered the most was how difficult that boot camp was!

You have said one of your dreams is to perform on Broadway. Do you have a particular character in mind?
I absolutely fell in love with Wicked the musical when it came out eight or nine years ago, one of the characters Glinda, the good witch, is absolutely perfect for me. She’s a musical theatre voice type, but she’s also got an operatic influence in her vocals. She’s just a hilarious character and it’s just something that I’ve always, always wanted to do.

What will the next few months entail for you now you have been crowned Miss World Australia?
I think it’s going to be very busy. I have singing practice as part of my daily schedule. No matter where I am, it’s not hard to squeeze in half an hour to an hour of singing. But in terms of searching for work within that role, I think that will probably have to be put on hold until I finish the competition at the end of September in Indonesia. Then you never know what might come out of that. I’ll get to perform on the international stage, which will be an absolutely amazing opportunity.

How did you raise money for your chosen charity?
I decided to choose Variety, the children’s charity, because I think I resonated the most with that cause. I just feel kids haven’t had a chance to do anything with their lives before they get sick, the poor little things. I really wanted to help out with that particular charity, so I actually teamed up with some fellow contestants to put on some events around Sydney. We had one at Hugo’s Lounge in Potts Point, where we sold official Variety Merchandise, auctioned off swimwear and we had a lots of raffle prizes from businesses around Sydney.

What do you do in your spare time?
I try and head back down to the Sydney Dance Company and keep up my dancing training, which is also something I’ve been doing since I was five and goes hand in hand with musical theatre. I’m also a massive sports fanatic, I absolutely love going to live sport; I do my best to squeeze in a game of NRL or Union when I have the time. I love the cricket as well! That’s not something that people would necessarily know about me.