Well it is that time of year when the search to find the new Miss Universe Australia begins and this Sunday at the Grand Chancellor Surfers Paradise the judging panel will select the Queensland entrants in the Miss Universe Australia pageant
Starting off our weekend of coverage we have a chat with Aquila Bergstrom one of the contestants who will be competing for a place in the State Final held in April.Photo courtest of Daniel Sangermani
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us first up can you tell us a bit about yourself …?
My name is Aquila Bergstrom. I just graduated from a bachelor of Public Relations and Events Management from USC. I suppose I’m a bit of a multi-tasker. I’m a model, luxury travel and fashion blogger and in my “normal job” I’m a wedding planner in Noosa (soon to be Sydney). I have dual citizenship (Australian and American) my mother is American and dad is Australian. I grew up in a tiny beach town on the eastern beaches at Coolum Beach. Since graduating from high school, aside from pursuing university I also lived abroad in NYC for modelling and prior to this I lived in the Philippines for five months modelling and volunteering at the Albert Schweitzer children’s orphanage. My hobbies include travelling, writing about my journey and philosophical beliefs and I love scuba diving and the ocean.
Why did you get involved in Miss Universe? What drew you to such a competition?
As Miss Universe has such a reputable name I knew that it would be the best possible platform for me to be noticed and ideally become a role model for young girls. What drew me to the competition, aside from the new like-minded girls I’m sure to meet, was that even if I weren’t to win the overall title the organisation itself and the individuals who are behind Miss Universe Australia would certainly provide me with the best support and advice on how to turn my dreams and ambitions into a reality.
If you are successful in the Miss Universe Pageant you will become a role model to many young girls. What do you think are the attributes of a good role model …?
Unfortunately in today’s westernised culture I feel as though a lot of the “celebrities” in which young girls look up to are portraying an image that is not exactly embodying attributes that should be applauded. To me a good role model is someone who is open, honest and a good communicator, which means an amazing listener also. A good role model portrays an image of self-worth, pride in the way they dress and speak and is someone who doesn’t need to parade around half naked in the media just to be noticed. A good role model embodies grace and integrity in all that they do and they stand up for what they believe is fair and just. They give a voice to those who may not be heard and they want the best for everyone.
Who is your role model…?
Audrey Hepburn. She embodied grace and was always dressed conservatively. Her devotion to UNICEF throughout her life was admirable while having such a prominent career on screen. I believe it’s a beautiful quality that she made the time to do the things that were important to her.
Other than winning the Miss Universe Pageant, What would you say are your biggest aspirations…?
My biggest aspirations would include finishing my book “Empower Me” which is a holistic approach for teenage girls to mature women to gain a strong relationship and self-respect level for your mind, body and soul. A percentage of all proceeds would be donated to SANE the Australian Mental Health Charity as it is a charity that is close to my heart having so many individuals in my life being effected by mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety.
I’d love to become a TV Presenter for a travel show or music channel and a childhood dream would be to land a lead role on Home & Away. Other personal goals would be to start a new charity and volunteer program incorporating efforts from university students in the events and psychology fields to gain work experience while putting on events and giving back to a charity within their local community where they can see their positive contributions directly.
What do you think will set you out from the rest of the contestants competing on the weekend …?
I personally believe that my combination of worldly experience from travelling to more than 28 countries, academic achievements and passion for helping others while being extremely down to earth may be enough to make me stand out. Fingers crossed!
and What would you say is your best style or beauty secret …?
Style advice: If your grandmother or mother would cringe to see you in an outfit- it’s probably time to change. I think it’s important to wear whatever makes you feel classy and confident. Whether you feel great in a pair of heels or converse it really shouldn’t matter other than that you yourself feel as though your style is best reflecting who you are as a person. As for make-up I really don’t like it, it does not suit me, I feel like I’m wearing zinc if I have foundation on. so this will be interesting on the weekend. Tinted moisturiser is as thick as I’m going. It’s just not me. However, in saying that, some girls love taking the time to perfect their make-up look and I applaud them for it!
The Miss Universe Pageant has a long history of association with Charity. Are there any social causes that are particularly close to your heart that you would like to use the platform of Miss Universe advance?
Anything targeting mental health charities is my primary cause. In particularly female teens simply because so many of them suffer and go unheard, or are misunderstood, and in some cases being silenced by everyone leaves them extremely vulnerable at an already delicate age. Teens are trying to find their two feet, how on earth can they find a solid foundation for a future if they struggle to get through each day. I’d like to use my degree of PR and Events to create annual events promoting awareness of mental health or work closely with local hospitals and create a service where individuals who want to volunteer their time to allocate themselves to a “buddy” within the mental illness wards in hospitals are able to offer their support and just be there for someone else. The wards cover a range of individuals with anorexia to depression, to anxiety and everything in between.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice 5 years ago what would it be?
Do not cling to things. Do not cling to happiness nor sadness because you are you, no one else is you. Therefore no person can tell you how to think, feel or act. You are responsible for your thoughts just as much as your actions and if you cannot harness the power of your own mind and detach from clinging to the good and bad you will struggle to find inner peace and happiness. There is beauty in dark and light you just need to change your perspective.
The Miss Universe pageant is about empowering women. What do you this is the most important when it comes to empowering women?
Empowering women is about being true to ones self and believing in all of your dreams, every single inch of them. However, it goes further than that, it is about sharing your knowledge or secrets to better the lives of other women around you. In saying that also, it’s wise to understand that dreams are dreams and until the work and movements have been put into place to achieve a dream they will not change form. It is equally important to not confuse a dream as a success indicator. To be successful isn’t always about the dream itself, it’s about the journey and self-exploration that was undertaken to get to that dream.