STUDYING to become a nurse and hoping to one day work in third-world countries as an army officer are Katie Halstead's ultimate long-term goals.
But this weekend, she'll be competing in the state finals of Miss Universe Australia, in the hope of making the international titles.
"It's pretty nerve-racking but exciting," the 22-year-old beauty said yesterday.
"Fifteen girls from every state have been chosen and then on February 22 we compete and we'll be judged on evening wear, swimwear and our Q&A.
"It's my birthday on that day, too, so it'll be a bonus if I can make it through - but just to get this far is great."
Katie said she lived in Rockhampton for four years before returning to Melbourne, where she now lives, to give her more opportunities in the modelling industry.
"I do more promotional work like F1 and Moto GP events and they help me with confidence - they're a great experience," Katie said.
"But I'm really big on fitness and health and I'm not a size (zero), so I think the Australian standard of what women should look like needs to change."
Katie said she believed being healthy was more important than your dress size.
"It's only a minority of women that can look a certain way, so I'd like to use my figure to set a new standard," she said.
"I have curves and I'm quite happy with that."
Crossing her fingers before she goes for an interview next week with the army, Katie hopes to gain sponsorship for her studies.
"I chose nursing because of the compassion - I think it's one of the most rewarding careers in helping people and I'd love to be able to do some humanitarian work in third world countries if I get accepted," she said.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.