By Claire Ottaviano
MISS NAIDOC Perth 2020 winner Katelan Stack is knocking out the competition in and out of the ring.
The 24-year-old Noongar woman from Ballajura was bestowed the crown this month running against nine other strong finalists.
Speaking with Echo News this week, Ms Stack said a new found love of boxing developed her confidence before she entered the awards.
“I started because I wanted to get healthy and fit,” she said.
“It’s a big part of me now.
“I not only do it to get fit, it’s something I love about myself.”
Ms Stack turned to boxing after the unexpected loss of her aunty last year.
“It took a big toll on me,” she said.
“I started to get anxious a lot, and although I wasn’t in a big, dark hole of anxiety and depression I started to feel those feelings.
“I knew if I didn’t do something about it my hurtful thoughts could have taken over.
“When I finished a boxing session it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders, it cleared my mind, cleared my head and all the anger, sadness and pain, I let it all out at boxing.”
Alongside her job as a flight attendant, she is currently preparing for her first official fight in the ring.
“If someone told me two years ago I’d be getting ready to train for a boxing fight I wouldn’t know what to say,” she said.
“I don’t think I would have entered the Miss NAIDOC program as mentally strong without the discipline boxing has taught me.
“It’s good for me to be fit and healthy but also strong in the mind.”
She dedicated her win to her parents and grandparents who had sacrificed so much to get her to where she is today.
Four other finalists were also from Echo News readership, Ellenbrook’s Rekeisha Voss, Middle Swan’s Majorie Hansen, High Wycombe’s Kaedisha Westberg and Aveley’s Tamika Ponton.
Ms Ponton took out the runner-up spot and Ms Voss took the Miss Beautiful award.
The Miss NAIDOC program, which celebrated 10 years in 2020, includes a six-week Empowerment and Leadership Program in the lead up to the presentation night.