Today we are catching up with Catalina Meldrum of Queensland, one of the 27 talented and inspiring women from all walks of life who are hoping to be crowned Miss Universe Australia 2022.
So Catalina, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
My full name is Catalina Gabriella Meldrum, which comes from both a Chilean and Scottish background. I am 20 years old living in Brisbane, currently studying a Bachelor of Behavioural Science at QUT, and working full-time modelling as well as social media influencing.
In my time away from my work and study I love to spend quality time with my family, close friends, cooking, and doing volunteer work every now and then with some local bush care groups. I entered the Miss Universe Australia competition with a mindset to discover what it had to offer, but coming to the end of the Australian competition, I am starting to think about what I can offer those who I come into contact with online and in-person with the experiences and reflections I have made during the process.
We all have motivations, mine usually around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia?
My key motivation for entering the Miss Universe Australia competition was to learn how to use my platform as a way to communicate what I am passionate about and to learn more about my own strengths, goals, and passions.
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?
The week away was an incredible bonding experience for me. I was nervous before coming on the trip as I was unsure how the other girls from the other states would be or if it would be hard to get along with the girls, but I very quickly formed life-long friendships with the girls and some of the photographers and organisers as well.
It was a very demanding, full-on week, but these challenges were what brought all of us girls so closely together. It also showed me what I can do under quite a lot of pressure and challenges, and I learned a lot about my own values and goals this week.
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
Without a doubt, the highlight of the trip for me was meeting such wonderful, inspiring people and gaining the friendships I made on the trip. If I had to put it down to a favourite experience, I would say the afternoon/evening we spent at the Burleigh Pavilion. We somehow managed to start a massive mosh dance at the DJ set, where all of the girls and the team came together and let their hair loose for the first time, and we had so much fun dancing together for hours.
With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the program, what is something that sets you apart from the other contestants?
My versatility is a strength and a trait that sets me aside from most people. I emerged myself into competitive tennis and tournaments for 12 years during my schooling years. At the same time, I was swapping between playing soccer, touch football, volleyball, AFL, cricket, and dance. I was, and remain to be, a high academic achiever leaving school with an OP 3 and my current GPA at university sitting on 6.4. My artistic abilities and creativity have also been largely successful.
I have been doing fine art and wearable art for 15 years and have carried on my creativity into my current job of modelling and social media, which has allowed me to be my own boss.
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?
I believe that the most important qualities that Miss Universe Australia should embody are leadership and love. in a world that has historically been dominated by men and kept women in their shadows, it is important for Miss Universe Australia to guide her fellow women as to how to gain back their own leadership and entitlement. When I speak about love, I think it is crucial for Miss Universe Australia to have self-love in particular because if she is able to love herself, then she is able to give love to everyone around her and show them what love is and how empowering love can be.
Now travel is back on the cards; where is your favourite place to travel to?
My favourite place to travel to is Chile because it is my second home. It is such a beautiful place in the world with amazing sightseeing, culture, food, and history to discover, and I consider myself blessed to have family that grounds me there.
It’s both a holiday place for me and somewhere that feels like home at the same time.
What is something people may find interesting about you?
I am a 20-year-old, self-employed, independent, full-time student. I followed my dream to be a model when I was 18 years old, doing free jobs and building my portfolio as a hobby while employed as a barista and studying full-time on the side. After a year of doing this, I realised I could turn this hobby of mine into my job, so I took the leap of quitting my barista job and became self-employed. I moved out of home at the start of 2022, and I am my own boss at the age of 20, fully supporting myself and studying because I decided to do what I dreamt of becoming as a little girl.
Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?
I am very passionate about raising awareness about mental health and well-being. This passion originated for me when I decided to get help for my own mental health at the age of 15 and drove me to study psychology at university.
As I have progressed through my course, it has opened my eyes to how mental health and well-being impact every aspect of your life. The way you walk, talk, act, and present yourself is all driven by the way you speak to yourself and care for your mental health and well-being. In a world with so much negativity being broadcasted to us daily and society constantly showing us ways that we are not ‘perfect’, it is crucial that we learn and understand how to take care of our mental health and well-being. This way, we can help those around us strive for self-love, progression and acceptance within ourselves, rather than striving for perfection and external acceptance.
Our mind and brain are the control centres of our body, language, perception, interactions, and the way we develop relationships, so it is crucial we prioritise our health.