Wyndham teenager Becky Deng says she hopes to encourage women from all cultural backgrounds to feel empowered.
Ms Deng fled civil war in Sudan as a child and lived in Uganda for a few years.
At the age of 12, she came to Australia as a refugee to live with her brother and his family.
Now aged 19, Ms Deng graduated from Tarneit Senior College last year.
On Friday, she will take part in the Miss South Sudan Australia competition in Kensington.
The annual event celebrates South Sudanese talent, culture and fashion.
Ms Deng said that along with her love of modelling, she was motivated to enter the contest because she wanted to be a role model.
“Just be yourself, be comfortable in who you are, embrace yourself and be proud of your culture and race,” she said.
Ms Deng said she spent some of her spare time volunteering with the Wyndham-based South Sudanese Patrol Group, which engages with young people to help deter them from crime.
She said she was passionate about showing that South Sudanese Australians were “great people from a great country”.
“There are a lot of things being said about us in the media and I want to show that there are good people in the community,” she said.
Ms Deng, who is studying advanced legal practice at RMIT, said she hoped to become a police detective.
“My other main aim, if I become successful in my modelling career or anything – I would like to help my country and also the children there,” she said.
She said she also wanted to save up enough money to help her mother migrate to Australia. Details: misssouthsudan.com.au