Jaca candidate Keira gets busy

PROUD Clarence Valley girl Keira Ellingwood is challenging stereotypes left, right and centre, but the hardworking mum is too busy to make a fuss.

Keira, 19, is the music director and announcer at Grafton community radio station 1031 Life FM.

She is also starting up a PA and disco hire business with her partner and, on top of all that, she is the proud mother of Amahlia, who turns two in May.

To cap everything off, Keira is the latest young woman to nominate as Jacaranda Queen for the annual festival.

Keira said she decided to enter the quest not only because she loved the festival, but also to show that young mothers can make a contribution to the community.

“My partner, my family, everyone I have in my life are supportive but I guess people that don't matter to me are the ones who make judgments,” she said.

“You have to grow up fast when you have a baby. I can't imagine being without Amahlia now.”

Keira, a former Junior Jacaranda candidate, said she had wanted to participate in the senior competition since she competed in the junior contest in 2002.

“It was a lot of fun and just standing in front and speaking to everyone taught me to be more confident,” she said.

Although Keira now lives in Minnie Water, she grew up in Grafton and all of her family lives in town.

She said she already had a few ideas to raise money for the Jacaranda Festival, including a scavenger hunt and perhaps a baby market, where parents could buy and swap baby items.

Keira began volunteering at 1031 Life FM in 2006, before being promoted in November to the position of music director.

Her work, new business venture and baby keep her busy, but when she does have any spare time Keira said she enjoys scrap-booking and spending time with her family.

“We pretty much just go to the beach and build sandcastles,” she said.

In the future, Keira said, she hoped to continue working in the music industry.

“I'd love to get a job in the city doing radio one day and have my own show,” she said.

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