Airlie Beach model named fourth in the world
AIRLIE Beach bombshell Lara Mitton claimed a world title as the third runner-up in the Miss Swimsuit USA International Finals last weekend.
Ms Mitton left for the Hard Rock Hotel, Riviera Maya on October 20 where she spent six days on the catwalk, in photo shoots and competing against 60 contestants, worldwide.
She was named fourth in the world behind Sierra Nowak (queen), Casey Boonstra (first runner-up) and Liz Kirkness (second runner-up) and ahead of Casey Costelloe (fourth runner-up). Ms Mitton made top 20 in the World Finals in 2016 and was thrilled with her fourth place finish this year.
"It was an absolutely incredible feeling to be announced as part of the top five. There were 60 girls from all over the world competing, and all of them were just beautiful,” she said.
But the week didn't go without its challenges.
The judging was spread out over two days and one particular section of the competition left Ms Mitton feeling "flat”.
"I was very disappointed after the question and answer round. I felt like I fumbled my words and didn't answer the way I wanted to,” she said.
"The week was incredible, but also extremely draining. There were only a handful of hours for sleeping, which means I didn't get any beauty sleep.
"But then when we were on stage for presentation and my name got called as third runner up. I was absolutely thrilled.”
Ms Mitton attributed her top five placing to personal development over the past two years.
Although she had been invited back to the World Finals in 2017, she had chosen to focus on work commitments instead, giving herself a break from the pageant world while competing in smaller competitions.
Ms Mitton placed third in the Maxim Swimwear Model of the Year pageant in May and was crowned Miss Townsville 2018 in July, which she said left her feeling happier and more confident, leading up to the World Finals.
"I was a very different person this year. I had so much more confidence, and that gave me the ability to let everyone know who I am as a person, and I think that showed on stage,” she said.
Ms Mitton said the opportunities created as a result of the competition have been outstanding. Girls had won trips overseas, modelling contracts and career-changing exposure, she said.
But at the end of the day, perhaps the friendships were the best prize of all.
"I made some great friendships, one in particular that will last a lifetime despite being on opposite sides of the earth,” Ms Mitton said.
"We never would have had the chance to meet otherwise.”
Ms Mitton is pursuing an opportunity in Miami and has been invited on a trip to the Philippines next year - but there's more to come.
"There are some really exciting things in the pipes, however nothing is set in stone so I can't share too much at this stage!” she said.
"I'm hoping there are some really cool things on the horizon.”