Emily Gorry: 'It is not about looks - it's about empowering women.'

Celebrating 58 years: Nominees are women aged 18- 28 who are unmarried, have Irish heritage and are doing great work in their community or career. Pictured is Sydney finalist Emily Gorry. Picture: Geoff Jones

Celebrating 58 years: Nominees are women aged 18- 28 who are unmarried, have Irish heritage and are doing great work in their community or career. Pictured is Sydney finalist Emily Gorry. Picture: Geoff Jones

Emily Gorry has been selected as one of 14 Sydney finalists in the 2017 Rose of Tralee competition. 

The Rose of Tralee is one of Ireland’s largest and longest running festivals. At the heart of the festival is the selection of the Rose of Tralee – a competition focused on empowering women who are educated, volunteer in their local community and are passionate about their Irish culture.

The 23-year-old Kings Langley resident was inspired to enter by her Irish grandfather Seamus Connaughton, who has always spoken about the Rose of Tralee competition. 

“I realised it would truly be an opportunity of a lifetime,” she said. “If I could tell my Pop I won – well it would just be amazing.”

The final selection will be held on Saturday, May 27 at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth Hotel in front of around 500 people. 

Miss Gorry will present a three minute speech where she will talk about her Irish heritage, her local community and her education. 

Once all women have presented, there is an impromptu debate and question and answer session about Irish politics and law. 

The Sydney Rose of Tralee winner will be sent to Ireland on August 16 for the week long Irish festival. The winner will represent Sydney in the world competition.

“The winner will join in parades, engage with the community and just be part of the festival,” she said. 

"I think on one of the days you have to work at a pub and serve Guinness all day.”

Miss Gorry told the Sun she would not be involved if it was a beauty pageant and just about looks.

“It is not about looks - it's about empowering women,” she said. 

“It’s really cool that we are celebrating all women in all ways and not just looks.”

Miss Gorry studies law and media at Western Sydney University.

She also interns at a family law firm once a week and volunteers at the Toongabbie and Rooty Hill community legal centres.

As these roles are unpaid, she also works two days a week at Bunnings. 

“It’s definitely a challenge – but hopefully it’s all worth it,” she said. “I hope to use my degree to empower vulnerable people by giving them access to the Australian legal system.”

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