The Nowra Show Society is seeking entrants for the 2020 Showgirl Competition to be held in conjunction with the 144th Nowra Show, February 7-8, 2020.
The Showgirl competition remains a relevant and rewarding experience with many young women benefiting from the personal and professional opportunities that result from participating in the annual event.
Judging for the 2020 competition will be held on November 23 and culminate in the announcement of the 2020 Nowra Showgirl at the presentation dinner on the same day.
The Showgirl Competition has been run since 1962 as part of The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition.
The successful Nowra Showgirl will compete at the zone final to be hosted by the Hawkesbury Show Society next February, with the zone winners progressing to The Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Over the past seven years, 44 young women from across the Shoalhaven have entered the annual competition.
Earlier this year, Chloe Bishop, 2019 Nowra Showgirl, had the opportunity to represent Nowra at the Zone Final hosted by the Nowra Show Society.
Chloe said the experience was beneficial.
"The best thing about the Showgirl competition has been the people that I've met through the experience," she said.
"Making new friends with Showgirls from other societies in our zone and meeting a whole different side of the community that I wouldn't have met without Showgirl, has been a definite highlight."
The Showgirl competition is regarded as one of the largest and most prestigious rural competitions in New South Wales and provides an opportunity for girls to gain valuable experience and make new friends, while having a chance to win great prizes.
The 2017 Nowra Showgirl, Liberty Nelson and 2018 Nowra Showgirl, Sammy Spark were both successful in being selected as a state finalist, attending the Sydney Royal Easter Show for a week as guests of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW.
Jessica Apperley, 2010 Nowra Showgirl, said the competition has changed her life.
"In my role as Showgirl coordinator, I have the immense privilege of meeting keen, enthusiastic young women who, by participating in the competition, grow in self-confidence and come away with a renewed sense of purpose to pursue their chosen path in life," she said.
It's a sentiment Chloe agreed with.
"It wasn't until sat back and reflected on my experience that I realised how much my confidence had grown," she said.
"By being the Nowra Showgirl, I've come to appreciate how far I can push myself out of my comfort zone and what I am capable of doing.
"I didn't know that I could do radio interviews or speak at Nowra Show in front of a capacity crowd on the Saturday night ahead of the Demolition Derby."
The aim of the competition is to find a person most suited to represent the young rural women of the local area. It is not a beauty pageant.
The contestants are judged on personality, confidence, ambition, general and rural knowledge, public speaking and community involvement.
"I didn't know that I could do radio interviews or speak at Nowra Show in front of a capacity crowd on the Saturday night ahead of the Demolition Derby."Chloe Bishop
Entrants should have a genuine interest in rural NSW as well as knowledge of their local community.
Chloe recommended entering the Showgirl competition to any young woman of the Shoalhaven.
"The skills you learn from Showgirl will increase your employment prospects," she said.
"You will have the opportunity to network with members of the community, practice public speaking and presenting as ultimately become more engaged with your community."
Showgirl entrants must be aged between 18 and 25 as at May 1, 2020.
Showgirls are sponsored by a local business chosen by the Showgirl or linked through the Show Society.
All Showgirl entrants participate at the annual Nowra Show in a range of activities from sashing champion livestock to making a presentation to the Nowra Show Baby.
This is often the most memorable experience for many Showgirl entrants as they are afforded the opportunity to spend two days "behind the scenes" at the show.
Young ladies who are considering entering the competition or who wish to obtain further information are encouraged to contact the Show Society.
An information package is available from nowrashow.org.au or by contacting the Nowra Show Society firstname.lastname@example.org