Contestants in the Miss Townsville pageant held last weekend.
Contestants in the Miss Townsville pageant held last weekend.

Pageant scandal as outsiders steal crowns

There's a scandal brewing in the beauty pageant ranks after a clean sweep of one hotly contested regional crown by a trio of women from out of town

There's scandal in the beauty pageant ranks after a clean sweep by Coast girls in the annual Miss Townsville quest last weekend.

Local entrants in the contest, run last weekend by the Townsville Show Society, were overlooked in favour of Glitter Strip trio Charlotte Cushing, Kim Hartnett and Rachel Rogers who finished first, second and third respectively to scoop the rich prize purse.

Winners of Miss Townsville 2019 Charlotte Cushing (first place), Kim Hartnett (second), Rachel Rogers (third) and Clare Nixon (Miss Social Media).
Winners of Miss Townsville 2019 Charlotte Cushing (first place), Kim Hartnett (second), Rachel Rogers (third) and Clare Nixon (Miss Social Media).

Ms Cushing, who with her fellow placegetters lives 1400km from Townsville on the Gold Coast, pocketed $10,000 in cash and added another sash to the swag of beauty pageant titles she has won.

The snub has upset Townsville locals and sparked a social media backlash.

"Just getting more and more bulls - t every year to be honest," one former entrant posted on the Miss Townsville Facebook page.

"Why are they allowed to compete in MISS TOWNSVILLE if they are not from Townsville," another local wrote, adding angry emojis.

"It's a bit sad that not 1 of the girls is an actual Townsville girl," posted another.

Townsville-based entrant Kiara Vest said she was disappointed to have missed out on even a place in her hometown beauty pageant.

"I genuinely thought I might have had a real chance," Ms Vest told The Sunday Mail.

"The creative team behind me was exceptionally good and I did a lot of things different and out of the box. The girls were all incredibly beautiful but it's just the title and where the winners were from that makes it such a massive controversy.

Kiara Vest said she was disappointed with the outcome of the Miss Townsville pageant. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Kiara Vest said she was disappointed with the outcome of the Miss Townsville pageant. Picture: Shae Beplate.

"I definitely think they need to at least change the Miss Townsville name because everyone sort of assumes all the entrants are from Townsville."

Townsville Show Society secretary-manager Chris Condon said he made 'no apologies' for opening the quest to women around Australia.

"We get the best girls in Australia and they promote Townsville and the show wherever they go," he said.

"Sure, the majority of this year's entrants were from out-of-town but Townsville has some beautiful girls and I'm sure we will crown another local in the future."

Pageant industry veteran Rosko Dickinson said beauty queens followed the 'circuit' chasing fame and Miss Townsville offered some of the biggest prizes.

He said the circuit was shrinking, with the demise of pageants like Miss V8 Supercars, as organisations moved away from beauty contests.



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