Suzi, 54, vies for title of Mrs Earth Australia
SELF-CONFESSED tomboy and professional hair and make-up artist, Suzi Dent competed in her first beauty pageant this month at the age of 54.
Swapping her shorts and sneakers for a frock and high heels, and moving from being behind the scenes to front and centre stage, she vied for the title of Mrs Earth Australia.
In taking to the catwalk, she hoped to empower other women to feel good about their aging selves and find a new lease on life.
Mrs Earth Australia promotes the Australian charity Soles4Souls Australia which collects and redistributes new or "gently worn" shoes for disadvantaged people in this country and overseas.
Suzi created a nationwide campaign with the help of Bartercard Australia that saw donation points established in all states and territories.
The Elanora resident travelled from the Gold Coast to Melbourne to compete in the Mrs Earth Australia 2017 finale on March 4.
Winners will line up for the world titles in Las Vegas in June.
Suzi has also become Soles4Souls' official ambassador and is planning to establish second-hand shoe collections in schools across Australia.
"It will teach kids about charity and eco-awareness; how they can help less fortunate people while keeping their lightly worn footwear out of landfill where it takes years to break down," she said.
"In turn, I hope they will educate their parents and spread the eco-awareness message."
The dynamic mum-of-one also wants to raise the profile of women aged over-50.
"I am an age-fearlessly person and I don't see age as being a barrier to anything," she said.
"I hope that what I'm doing, by getting well outside of my comfort zone, will empower other women to feel good about their aging selves and find a new lease on life.
"In my opinion, this societal obsession with not having wrinkles, but having skin that looks like a 12-year-old girl's must stop."
Mrs Earth Australia is selected based on poise, inner beauty, confidence and sincerity.
"It's an eco-aware pageant. You don't have to wear a swimsuit," Suzi said.