A Riverina beauty is about to grace televisions and streaming screens across the country in a bid to find a connection.
Leeton's Josephine Werner has been cast in the Channel Nine show Beauty and the Geek, which premiers this Sunday at 7pm.
Josie was put forward by an agency for the show and said she was "shell-shocked" when contacted by Channel Nine.
"I was a bit hesitant at first, but I decided I just wanted to do something crazy and show Australia that there is more to 'beauty' than just looks," she said.
"I've never identified with beauty and feel there's so much more to me than how I present. I'm sure there were so many beautiful, intelligent and unique girls that would have applied. I also thought I might have been a bit young."
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Since leaving Leeton in 2019, Josie was dancing full-time, gaining her diploma in dance and began to build a career in the industry. Some highlights were appearing in music videos, performing at major PR launches and making the Cronulla Sharks Mermaids cheer leading squad.
She recently accepted an offer at ACU to study a Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching), which begins this year.
The Block, Big Brother, Beauty and the Geek, Married at First Sight, The Bachelor, My Kitchen Rules, Dancing With The Stars - that's just a sample of the shows that have featured Riverina talent.
Josie said she was looking forward to doing away with labels as part of the show.
"There's something so amazing about being thrown into a social experiment, which wouldn't have ever happened in my everyday life that I find so exciting and special," she said.
"The main thing I love is being given the opportunity to challenge people's ideas of young women and prove that we are so much more than face value.
"Walking into the show I felt vulnerable and a little lost. Because of this I really wanted to work on my self confidence and worth.
Given it was a social experiment based on finding a connection, I was open to that and learning to trust males again."
Josie's parents still live in Leeton today and she admitted telling them about being on the show was something she did worry about.
"That was one of my biggest obstacles before going on the show, particularly with my mum," Josie said.
"She was afraid I may be portrayed as something that she knew I wasn't. Dad had his questions but really encouraged me to take an opportunity like this and said 'go for it'.
"I was also hesitant, but we all came around to the idea that the show would mean much more than me just being labelled as a 'beauty'.
"My biggest hesitation (was) people would assume I have an inflated sense of self. I have never relied on looks to get me by. I am a driven, hard worker and I think Beauty and The Geek is the best place to prove this."
Going on television in 2021 can come with its benefits, but one of the major downfalls in today's day and age is the trolling that can come with it on social media.
Josie said in her experience she has always found bullying and trolling to be a reflection of the person behind the keyboard, not the intended target of their vitriol.
"As humans, we are faced with criticisms everyday," she said. "I just know that this will be on a bigger scale as I will be on national TV.
"I learnt early on that negative responses are given when someone is putting themselves out there and achieving, but I can't let other's internalised battles stop me from taking up an amazing opportunity like this. I have an invaluable circle of friends and an amazing family around me who couldn't be more supportive and nothing can beat that."
The main thing I love is being given the opportunity to challenge people's ideas of young women and prove that we are so much more than face value.Leeton's Josie Werner
Leeton residents can also expect to not only catch Josie on their screens, but parts of town they are also familiar with.
In promotions for the show, the Leeton town sign and footage of Josie's childhood is being shown.
"Leeton and its community will always hold a special place in my heart and has given me so much," Josie said. "I am excited to shed a light on this amazing area and can only hope I have made the community proud.
"People often look at reality TV as light and shallow entertainment, but the show has such a beautiful story line and you end up falling in love with all of the amazing cast as they grow and learn about themselves.
"The challenges we had to do were insane, things I could have never imagined myself doing. There are so many funny and feel good moments, I can't wait to see it put together and watch it all back.
"Plus, (Beauty and the Geek host) Sophie Monk is a national icon and just as amazing on TV as she is in real life."
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