Billie-Jo Cresswell dreams of working on a cattle station in the outback.
But in the meantime she is continuing her studies to gain enough qualifications so she can work, or manage, a property.
The 19-year-old Ashtonfield woman has thrown her hat into the 2019 Maitland Showgirl and Miss Maitland competition in a bid to gain confidence from the self-development program.
Her work at Farmers Warehouse in Rutherford pushes her out of her comfort zone. So did her job at the Country Grub Cafe in Dungog where she worked with her mother.
But she feels the quest will add something extra, including giving her the chance to work on her public speaking skills.
She is already nervous about speaking on stage during the gala ball next month, but is determined to overcome her nerves.
“This will help me to build my confidence because I’ve never been good at talking to different people, and I’d like to learn new things,” she said.
When I was younger I was shy compared to other kids, I’ve taken time to warm up with people before I had a decent conversation with them.I used to have a go at public speaking in primary school but I gave up at it and never tried it again, it will be good to give it another go.
Her younger sister took part in the junior showgirl competition that was run through Dungog Show.
She wanted to have a go, but that show society only holds The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl quest every two years, so she decided to enter the Maitland quest.
Watching her friend, Macia Borowiec, at the gala ball last year – and having her as a fellow contestant, gave her the extra support she needed to enter.
“I’m going to go in there comfortable because I already know two people there,” she said.
“Macia has helped me a lot, she’s helped to give me the confidence to even sign up. I talked to my boss about it as well and she said I’d do great at it, so she was encouraging me as well.”
The former Dungog High School student loves her jeans and boots, except on very hot days, and is focused on expanding her agriculture knowledge.
She has completed her Certificate III in Agriculture during high school and is focused on extending her agriculture knowledge.
Next year she will start completing additional agriculture certificates at TAFE.
Once you get your diploma you can be a property manager, when you have a certificate III you can be a senior station hand,she said
In her spare time she works with her thoroughbred, an ex-racehorse, to perfect dressage techniques.
She also has a bucket list – one that is long-term and another she wants to complete before she turns 25.
Some of the items involve exploring rural and regional Australia.
“I like to adventure, a little too much as my parents say. I like to go to places and try different things … I would like to go up to Cape York and do the Cape York drive next year, I’d like to travel around Australia and get to know my home more before I even go overseas,” Ms Cresswell said.
“I’d like to travel inland and check out everyone else’s home towns because it would definitely be an experience.”