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Former Miss World Achieves Her Dream of Helping Those without Voices

Former Miss World Achieves Her Dream of Helping Those without Voices

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Olivia Stratton has always loved to learn about people’s experiences and to see them happy. For this reason, she continued to research various career paths in school that would result in helping others.

“I considered being a lawyer for NGO’s, a psychologist to help children, and a school teacher in order to inspire and share knowledge with young minds,” Stratton said. “In my final year, a teacher suggested I apply for a scholarship to the Swiss Hotel School. I am so glad I did and feel fortunate to have been awarded the scholarship, as gastronomy is a perfect fit for me.”

Stratton said she considers gastronomy to be fascinating; this passion has enabled her to study, travel and work all over the world as a TV presenter, journalist, reviewer and ambassador with people from over 100 countries.

“There’s a certain magic about gastronomy,” she explained. “I love how it tells its own story and shares in such a positive light [of] different cultures’ values, traditions and ways of life. It celebrates cultural diversity and often reveals a kaleidoscope of different languages, influences from a particular region’s geography and climate, music, art, fashion, religious beliefs, and of course all types of foods and drinks.” Ji Jiao (translates to ‘chicken feet’) is the most unusual dish that Stratton tasted when she was in China. “I experienced this as a cold dish marinated in vinegar…It seems to be an acquired taste.”

Stratton’s dream initially was to become an ambassador for the United Nations. This inspired her to enter the contest of Miss Australia, as well as to apply for other major state and national roles such as State Youth Ambassador. “These national roles helped prepare me for Miss Australia and Miss World,” she said.

During the first week of her Master’s degree program, her modeling agent contacted her. Stratton had 11 days to prepare for the entry visas, passport, flights and extensive requirement of dresses for the Miss World International Pageant. “Time flew,” she said, “particularly as the majority of contestants at Miss World had up to 12 months to prepare.”

Stratton won Miss World People’s Choice in front of 2.8 billion viewers and proved that dreams can come true with determination and hard work.

“Winning the international title of Miss World People’s Choice was a huge honor. My family flew to China for the Miss World Final. It meant so much to have them there with me for this momentous occasion and particularly— as without the support of my family and kind sponsors—it would not have been possible.”

According to Stratton, the women involved in the national and international pageants are not only beautiful models, but they also take on important ambassadorial roles and volunteer their time to support worthy projects in their homelands, while being significant role models to young women.

“Between each city, we would chat and relax—making many friends,” she said. The other women’s emotional stories and the admirable work they had achieved during their Year of Service inspired Stratton, motivating her to return home to Australia and to achieve great things for others in her Year of Service.

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“I have shared their stories in countless interviews while talking about how we can all make a positive difference in the world, lend a hand, help charitable causes and inspire other young women to make their dreams come true.”

Amongst her ambassadorial roles, Stratton is proud to have been chosen as the 2009 RSPCA Ambassador. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is a community-based animal welfare charity that strives to prevent animal cruelty while promoting care and protection for animals.

“I love animals and feel blessed to have enjoyed my childhood on my parents’ property where all our animals are loved and cared for dearly,” she said. “Sadly as I grew up, I realized there are so many unloved, abused and abandoned animals that need our help. Pet owners need to be more responsible and feed, immunize, exercise and love their furry friends who in return can give us so much joy.

According to Stratton, the wildlife in Australia is beautiful, and one of her current goals is to become more involved with organizations that help protect, rescue and rehabilitate the native animals from the effects of “urban sprawl,” which destroy their bushland homes.

“Carpe Diem”—seize the day— is the mantra that has always stuck with the former Miss World. She feels strongly about charity work and helping those who often suffer in silence—“Children, animals and the environment.”

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