Sunday Tasmanian - - Front Page - BRIANA DOMJEN

IN the past, our na­tional cos­tumes have been called a “na­tional joke” and a “trav­esty”, which may be why our cur­rent Miss Uni­verse Aus­tralia feared the worst be­fore her gown was un­veiled.

Francesca Hung, who will fly to Bangkok on Wed­nes­day for the Miss Uni­verse fi­nale, said con­sid­er­ing what pre­vi­ous Aus­tralian beauty pageant con­tes­tants have worn, she ap­pears to have got off scot­free.

“I was quite ner­vous, but I set my ex­pec­ta­tions very low, so I was elated when I saw the fin­ished prod­uct,” Hung said.

“When you look back and type in na­tional cos­tumes for Aus­tralia in Google, it is a mess.

“So I am count­ing my lucky stars and I think my out­fit will be one of the most beau­ti­ful.”

The wat­tle yel­low gown con­tains 20m of silk or­ganza, each piece in­di­vid­u­ally cut, and hand dyed to achieve a nat­u­ral blend of colours. De­signer Nicola Ye­ung said the gown was in­spired by Aus­tralia’s unique flora.

Ms Hung, a univer­sity grad­u­ate, said she also feared sab­o­tage af­ter hear­ing sto­ries of Miss Uni­verse con­tes­tants steal­ing other girls’ dresses.

“I am scared. I need to put a nanny cam in the room,” she said.

She hopes to be the next Jen­nifer Hawkins in terms of tak­ing out the crown and will cap­i­talise on the ex­po­sure and pur­sue a me­dia ca­reer.

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