Today we are catching up with Ariel Russell of Victoria, one of the 27 talented and inspiring women from all walks of life who are hoping to be crowned Miss Universe Australia 2022.
So Ariel, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m 21 years young and have recently completed my Bachelor of Biomedical Science, where I majored in Infection and Immunity. I am currently working as a talent manager/stylist and a seminar host/ sales coordinator while modelling on the side. In my free time, it would be no surprise if you found me painting or drawing as I love all things art.
We all have motivations, mine usually around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia?
I entered Miss Universe Australia previously when I was 18. At this point, I was still very young, studying and working towards my career, finding my purpose in life. I was quite shy and lacking in confidence. Being involved with Miss Universe Australia built my confidence and my ability to communicate on different levels and helped to establish my goals. It sparked a new strength in me. By the end of it, I had come out of my shell, and so I wanted to give it another go.
Use this newfound voice and confidence to be loud and be heard.
As part of the program, you recently spent time in our hometown of the Gold Coast with the Village Roadshow team; what was the experience like?
It was amazing and a first for me. I had never been to the Gold Coast or any of its amazing theme parks. We stayed at the beautiful Sea World resort. It was great to see how firsthand the dedication of the team at Sea World delved into providing care for each of their beautiful animals. I really appreciated the education side, learning about the work they do.
It was here that I was also able to really push myself into participating, and I took part in some snorkelling and overcame anxiety from doing it in the past.
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
With no hesitation, the official swimwear photoshoot was the highlight of my trip. Being glammed by the wonderful Caterina Di Biase and Alarna Bell, wearing my All About Eve and Stelios Jewellery, I felt so confident. It was an early wake-up for me, so I watched an incredible sunrise (something I love to paint) and had the dolphins swim up and say good morning.
I shot against some beautiful cliff rocks with Jarrod Seng and had Soph there styling, making it run smooth and effortlessly. I just got so into the shoot and had the best time!
With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the program, what is something that sets you apart from the other contestants?
My mix of creativity and analytical thinking definitely set me apart. My science background typically leads me down a logical pathway, but my art side allows me to be a bit more imaginative and abstract. I tend to see things in another light, stepping into someone else’s shoes, always thinking of another solution or simply thinking of problems just as a detour. When one door closes, another opens. It allows me to hold my head high and remain composed in every situation.
Your next question comes from our current Miss Universe Australia, Daria Varlamova; in your opinion, what are the most essential qualities that a Miss Universe Australia embodies?
The most important qualities that Miss Universe Australia embodies are passion, determination, creativity, perseverance, and most of all, kindness. She is someone who is relatable, someone to look up to and be inspired by.
Now travel is back on the cards; where is your favourite place to travel to?
I think Australia has so much to offer, but nothing beats experiencing the depth of culture. So I would say, South-East Asia. I’ve visited a number of countries within this area, but it was my trip to the Philippines that really left a mark on my heart.
I spent 10 days here assisting at numerous orphanages. Meeting children exposed to neglect, poverty, and sexual harassment, just to name a few. It woke something up inside me, and there’s no greater feeling than to know you are helping and contributing some positive aspects to their life. It just makes you realise how lucky and blessed we are to live in a country like Australia.
What is something people may find interesting about you?
I have very vivid dreams. I will dream up to 6 dreams a night and be able to remember them in full detail. Some say I can Astral surf/ project. I have watched myself in my dreams, and I have also been to other people. I’ve felt what it’s like to be others, and I can’t express enough how real those emotions have felt. I think this reflects my creative side and how in tune I feel with others.
Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?
This one is hard to narrow down on. I’m a creative person, and I’m passionate about art. More specifically, self-expression through art can be very therapeutic.
However as of late, I have begun opening up real conversations about items that aren’t often spoken of, such as mental health, sexual harassment, violence and substance abuse. My own lack of insight and understanding has in the past lead me into some very uncomfortable situations. These are very serious issues, they have extreme consequences, and we need to be able to teach others to talk about them in a safe space where there is no shame or embarrassment.
I would love to be that older sister figure that ensures that no one feels alone in what they experience and guides them on how and where to seek the support they require.