ABI Dodd took what could have been a big risk the night before her graduation dinner.
Abi, 18, had wanted rainbow hair ever since she was ten, but her primary and high schools didn't allow students to dye their hair. She decided in August the time had come.
"I'm showing all the different colours I could have had, all at once," she said.
"If you keep putting things off you think, 'If not now, when?'.
"The trick is not to think about it too much. You just have to trust it's going to be okay."
Abi spent more than seven hours at Wak The Salon on Thursday, as hairdresser Mykey O'Halloran transformed her brunette locks into what he described as a unicorn mane, which have been his specialty for the past seven years.
He had flown from Melbourne after receiving a Facebook message from Abi, saying she wanted her hair to match her girlfriend Piper Kline's multicolored shirt and flared pants.
He offered what would have cost at least $650 for free.
She paid for his flights.
"I feel incredible," she said of the result.
"I'm so immensely happy.
"It's turned out better than anything I could have imagined.
"I see myself reflected how I really am. This is a demonstration on the outside of what I am on the inside.
"It's proof to myself that I'm not afraid to show who I am and pride, not just in the LGBTQI+ community, but in being who you are."
Abi debuted her new look when St Francis Xavier's College Hamilton's outgoing year 12 students gathered at Newcastle Entertainment Centre on Friday night.
She "mixed up what is expected" by wearing custom-made floral print pants, a yellow bodice and sheer purple button-down collared shirt.
"People at school only saw a very small slice of who we are," Piper, 18, said.
"We've become more ourselves through knowing each other.
"Our close friends know we're together, but I think people are going to be more shocked by what we wear than the fact we're together."
Abi said Piper had been a "big influence in embracing who I am".
They met on the first day of year 11, when they didn't have to wear uniform.
Abi noticed Piper's colourful socks peeking out from her Dr Martens boots.
"I loved how she wasn't afraid to be herself," said Abi, who has ADHD and "tried to blend in" at primary school.
"I thought 'If she can do it, I can do it too'."
Abi's mother had taught Piper at primary school and a bauble with Piper's face hung on the Dodd's Christmas tree for a decade before the pair met.
Abi started wearing sparkly socks in the school's shade of blue and donning different earrings - including Bubble O'Bills - pins and socks each day.
She thread rainbow laces in her shoes and wore rings with tiny plastic figurines.
"I have three pairs of white socks that I wear when gardening, because they're the only ones I don't care about getting dirty - and 75 pairs of coloured socks."
Abi said her clothing and jewellery wasn't always understood, but helped her feel more like herself and grow in confidence.
She performs and teaches at Circus Avalon and has joined the Hunter Heroes, performers who bring popular characters to life.
"The majority [of the reason for my hair style] is 'This is me being me', but a small part of it is 'You've told me since primary school I'm not allowed to show who I am, so here I am doing it as loudly as possible'," she said.
"I understand why I wouldn't have been allowed at school, that they want to keep it uniform and professional.
"I'm grateful that I went to very good schools, but it has been hard - I have struggled with conforming.
"I want to show my individuality and empower others to be themselves.
"I like to show I am fun and I like having fun and I'm not afraid of what people think about me.
"I am crazy, eccentric and weird and that's okay to be different because I always have been.
"I get judgemental looks but when I'm unsure about how I look, I think of the one person who smiles because it's brightened their day and it makes it all worth it."
Abi said she wanted others to not dull their sparkle.
"Don't be scared of society's constraints about what you should wear or how you should act in public," she said.
"Own who you are and even if you don't quite know who that is yet, be proud of how far you've come. Don't compromise."
Abi came out to her parents - her father is a former Anglican minister - when she and Piper started dating in June.
"I have been so incredibly lucky, they have been nothing but loving to me."
Abi said she intends to try to maintain her new look when she moves to Sydney to study Community Services at TAFE.
"It's going to be colourful for as long as possible, 100 per cent," Abi said. "I don't plan on going back to brown anytime soon."