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More than skin deep: meet the beauty queen raising $10,000 for cancer

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Falling onto the stage in a glittering pale purple gown as the crowd roared, Emily Egan was shocked her dream had finally come true.

It had taken six long years, countless hours of work, and many nights planning what she would actually do if the intricate crown embedded with yellow Swarovski crystals became hers, but Miss Galaxy Australia 2022 wouldn’t change any of it. 

And nowas her reign beginsthe real work starts. 

The ACT’s first ruling Miss Galaxy Australia queen, Emily first fell in love with pageants when her modeling agency entered her into a competition at the age of 18. 

While the stunning ball gowns and glamorous environment drew her in, it was the fundraising aspect and charity work that inspired her to compete for the crown and have her voice heard. 

“The reason I love pageants so much is because you are putting 60 women in a room who all have a platform,” explains Emily.

“They are some of the most accomplished women I have ever met in my entire life. They’ve started their own charities, they’ve written novels, they’re charity ambassadors, whatever it might be, each of them has their own story.”

Growing up in Canberra, she has always been passionate about working with and supporting the local community. Fundraising for charities such as Variety Australia, parkrun Australia and Karinya House from a young age, it was the connection to people that inspires her. 

But it wasn’t until Emily had a mole removed from her chin that she found her true passion. 

“I saw a Cancer Council ad on TVno word of a lieand I remember thinking to myself that’s something I’ll have to worry about one day. And then the next time I went to the doctor, the [Cancer Council] message had stuck in my head,” she explains. 

“One [freckle] on the back of my leg was a concern and then the one on my face… I remember thinking to myself, “What the hell, I’m so young. I wear sunscreen every day.’ My parents had always lathered it on me as a kid, we were so religious with sunscreen.”

Emily was luckythe procedure was painless and the mole wasn’t cancerous. But with a history of cancer in her family, she admits she was terrified. 

“All I could think was if it can happen to me when I’m so safe and I’ve always been good about it, then who else can it happen to?” says Emily. 

Inspiring her friends to have their own skin checked, her question was soon answered. 

Five of her girlfriends have had potentially cancerous moles and freckles removed, and one has had a melanoma diagnosis. And with one Australian diagnosed with melanoma every 30 minutes, Emily wanted to do more to raise awareness. 

“I know lots of people talk about cancer and it’s not something that’s hidden anymore, but it’s not young people talking about it,” she says. 

“I think there’s still that stigma that skin cancer only happens when you’re older…there’s not that awareness that exists for young people. This can happen to us too.”

Meeting the Cancer Council ACT at a Biggest Morning Tea event held by her pageant sponsors Car Mechanical Services Fisher, she decided to use her voice and platform to talk about cancer and how it can (and does) affect everyone. 

“When the opportunity came up with the Cancer Council, it was just a no-brainer to me…pageants would just be an opportunity to elevate that platform, be the microphone to the message,” explains Emily. 

“It spiralled into what has become a beautiful partnership. Then I signed up to Galaxy Pageants a year after I’d already been the Cancer Council’s ambassador, so I took that message to the pageant and said ‘Here’s something I want to bloody talk about’.”

Becoming Miss Galaxy 

Talk about it she did. 

Taking three attempts at the Miss Galaxy crown, Emily participated in numerous photoshoots, interviews, charity fundraising events and community events where she would get out and about with the Cancer Council to talk about the work they do in the community. 

With 20 community appearances under her belt, Emily arrived at the 2022 pageant feeling proud of the folder full of work she had accumulated

“I just handed over the folder and said, ‘This is what Canberra is about. These are our people and here’s how we’re making a difference in the community’.” she says. 

From there, it was a week-long process with five areas of competitioninterview, photogenic, fashion wear, swimwear, and evening gown— with the crowning night of the Miss Galaxy Australia representing a culmination of everything the delegates had worked for. 

Named best in photogenic, best in interview, and voted Miss Congeniality by fellow Miss Galaxy participants, Emily was thrilled with how far she’d come and the recognition she had brought to Canberra. 

But suddenly, she found herself in the final five, then the final two. And when Emily was named Miss Galaxy 2022, all she could feel was disbelief. 

“I think my soul left my body,” she says. 

“Knowing that dream had finally come true was phenomenal, it’s a feeling I have never felt in my whole life. But the timing was right this year, I’d really gotten my message clear about what I wanted to achieve with the crown, what my platform was, what I was working for and my why.”

“All those six years of hard work were building me into the person that was then ready to have that responsibility, because it’s the most glamorous job in the world and you have to be ready,”

Queen Emily’s reign 

With every minute of her reign planned, the real question is what won’t Emily do with the crown? 

“The big goal is [raising] $10,000 for the Cancer Council but also awareness. I want people to look at the Galaxy crown and think ‘Oh that’s linked to the Cancer Council’…I’m a very, very proud Canberran and this is the first Galaxy crown to come to Canberra,” she says.

“That’s a huge opportunity for the ACT and I really want it to be something where Canberra leaves its mark on the crown and the next person will have huge shoes to fill because of how much work, as a state, we put in.”

While Emily never imagined her passionate partnership with the Cancer Council ACT would help bring her this far, she’s determined to inspire all young Canberrans to slip, slop, slap, seek, and slide to protect their health, as well as take her message to an international level during her next pageant. 

Heading to America in August to represent Australia at Miss Galaxy International, she’s thrilled to once again take the stage with equally passionate women. 

“It’s a huge platform, not only for Cancer Council ACT but for the national Cancer Council to then take that to an international scale and say ‘Guess what? Melanoma affects everyone, it doesn’t discriminate’…I’m hugely excited about America.”  

As she takes her new title and continues the community work she loves, Emily does want people to know that being a pageant queen is more than a sparkly gownyou need to have dreams and goals and be willing to stand up for them. The beautiful crown is just a bonus. 

“There can be a negative stereotype that it’s just women who have no essence, no passion, or no purpose, and they’re just a pretty face, but I am so happy to bust that myth,” she says.  

“Beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive. We have absolutely moved past that narrative now.”

Donate to Emily at doitforcancer.com.au/fundraisers/emilyegan 

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