TOWNSVILLE beauty queen Rachael Finch has been advised to lose her "Queensland accent" before she contests the Miss Universe final later this year.
The 20-year-old, who last week was named as Australia's latest entrant in the annual pageant, faces several months of intensive grooming by beauty contest experts before the final judging in the Bahamas on August 23.
Miss Universe Australia president Deborah Miller said Miss Finch had all the elements needed to win the lucrative international competition, but her skills needed to be "refined".
"We've got to work on the walk, so people go 'wow' when she comes out," Ms Miller said.
"She's also very Queensland, and Queensland has a bit of a different accent. So, I think it's about just trying to refine her accent a little."
Miss Finch yesterday said she was not offended.
"Competing in an international pageant, it's something you have to be aware of. I'm happy to work on it, it's just part of the competition," she said.
"But my Queensland accent will always be a part of me. That's where I grew up and it will always stay with me."
Miss Finch is now based in Sydney, after moving there from Townsville six months ago. She works as a model and as a presenter for a closed-circuit television production company.
Her boyfriend of 18 months is Sunshine Coast radio announcer Angus O'Loughlin.
"She's stunning inside and out," Mr O'Loughlin said.
"Everything she does, she puts herself wholeheartedly into and this (competition) is no exception. I think she's going to be a really good ambassador for Australia."
Miss Finch said she stays fit by doing activities like running, cycling and swimming, but revealed she also treats herself to chocolate or ice cream at least once a week.
"Everything in moderation is the key," she said.
Australia has a long history in the Miss Universe pageant. Jennifer Hawkins won the title in 2004, and Kerry Anne Wells was successful in 1972.