RACHAEL Finch, a beautiful brown-eyed brunette from Townsville, was crowned Miss Universe Australia 2009 at Sydney's Hilton Hotel last night.
The event was held at the same time as the winner of Cleo's Bachelor of the Year was announced on the other side of town.
Finch, a 20-year-old model and television presenter, beat 31 other finalists to win the award formerly won by Jennifer Hawkins, who then famously went on to become Miss Universe in 2004.
That same year, Finch took out the Queensland young model of the year title in Townsville's Opal Fashion Bash pageant.
Model scout Henry Peterson encouraged her to enter the pageant after spotting her "underneath the wings of a Boeing 747 at Townsville Airport".
"When I first saw her I knew she was special," he said.
"I told her: 'You'll be bigger than Jennifer Hawkins'."
Rachael has since moved to Sydney, where she has obtained work through Chadwick model agency.
She is also a TV presenter with Platinum Television, which provides video content for bars and events.
She described winning the Miss Universe Australia title as surreal.
"How do I describe the feeling? What words do I use because to me it's like a dream," she said.
"I feel like I'm in literally, a dream. It's surreal."
For others wishing to follow in her footsteps, she said it was important to "stay focused, stay humble and be true to yourself".
"Coming from such a small town it's not only somewhere to grow up that's naturally beautiful but you really learn the value of growing in that small community and you get a lot of support and love and you can take that in your heart and take that to a bigger city or move on with your life and your career and really make a change.
"Follow your heart and reach for the stars because one day you will get there and that is what this is all about."