But it wasn’t a disappointing loss, a wardrobe malfunction or a fumbled response to a question that had Ms Smith on the edge of tears ” simply the overwhelming support from the audience.
Ms Smith has come a long way since leaving a rough relationship two years ago, which battered her self esteem.
‘My self-worth just wasn’t the same (after the relationship ended), I’d been single for a few years and was still rebuilding my self esteem,’ she said.
‘Now my doubts are gone ” I thought, I can do anything.’
Ms Smith was handed a flyer for Miss NAIDOC ” a leadership and empowerment program and pageant for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Perth ” by a worker at Medina Aboriginal health service Moorditj Koort.
The WA Academy of Performing Arts Aboriginal Theatre graduate, who is acting and playing flute in the Yirra Yaakin Aboriginal Theatre show Kaarla Kaatijin, figured she had nothing to lose.
Ms Smith was accepted as one of 10 finalists, and started a six-week training program with leadership workshops, media training, deportment classes and female empowerment short courses.
‘We then had a photo shoot for our Miss NAIDOC calendar and then on the night, we had to do three walks on the catwalk and answer a question,’ she said.
Ms Smith was asked how she would help tackle racism in the community if she was crowned the winner.
‘I believe that we as people aren’t born racist, we are taught that,’ she said.
‘Young people who are racist, it’s come from the home; as a parent that kind of education starts with me.
‘I lead by example.’
She entered the competition to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and to promote awareness of domestic violence, and urged other young indigenous women to consider entering Miss NAIDOC next year.
‘For young women who are trying to decide what they want to do for a career, I would encourage them to enter,’ she said.
‘It can give you an idea of what you want to do in life, and gives you that platform and the confidence to go forward.’