Today we are catching up with Claire Rossier of Victoria, one of the 24 talented and inspiring women from all walks of life who are hoping to be crowned Miss Universe Australia 2023 at The Sofitel Melbourne on Collins this Friday.
So, Claire why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I am 22 years old. I’m currently in my final year of a Bachelor’s in Design, Creative Direction and Styling. Although I have lived in Melbourne most of my life, I was born in Hong Kong, then lived in New York and London. I grew up dancing, until I was about 18, starting in ballet, but then later picking up tap, contemporary, jazz and hip-hop. When I was 16 I auditioned for a youth contemporary dance company, Transit. I danced there for a year before starting Year 12. If you couldn’t already tell, I love being creative. I use my creativity for self-expression. I also love collaborating with others, as I believe that a culmination of ideas and options leads to the best results.
We all have motivations, mine usually around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia?
When I first applied for Miss Universe Australia, my main reason was to push myself outside of my comfort zone and to do something different. I also saw how Miss Universe could help with networking and meeting new people. Post-Covid, I felt as though I was stuck in a monotonous routine that felt underwhelming, so I needed to change it up. The experiences I had prior to the state finals with Miss Universe Australia were already so amazing. I felt as though I had experienced so much personal growth, in such a short space of time. I honestly didn’t think I would even be considered for a spot as a National Finalist. I knew in myself that I had already made the most of this amazing opportunity and would have been happy to see any of the amazing girls go through to the national finals.
When I made it through to the finals, I was excited to come up with ideas in how I could make a difference to my community. I then thought back to when I was a shy and reserved young girl. I then thought, what would be the key characteristics in a role model for someone like me? I always looked up to Barbie, as she was an independent, determined and smart woman.
As I got older, it was more my dance and art teachers who inspired me to pursue my creative endeavours. At first, I thought I wanted to be an inspiration for just young girls, but after an interaction with my mom, my perspective changed. We were catching up for a coffee to speak about the finals and what she would be wearing. She said, “I’ll just wear something I already own, because no one will be interested in looking at me.” It broke my heart. My mom, who is an amazing woman whom I’ve looked up to my whole life, wasn’t feeling confident in herself. I ended up telling her, “No, Mom, you deserve to try on nice dresses, get your hair and makeup done. Because I’ll appreciate the effort you put in.”
After this conversation, I realised that I want to inspire every person I interact with to be confident and express themselves in whatever way they want. If I had never applied for Miss Universe Australia, then all the self-growth and character building that this amazing program has allowed me to do would have never happened.
As part of the program, you recently went on the National Finalist Trip to Vietnam at Furama Resort Da Nang, what was the experience like?
The National Finalist trip to Vietnam was probably one of the most extraordinary trips I have ever experienced. From meeting the other finalists, to the amazing resort and inspiring workshops, it will truly be something I will never forget.
I have been to Vietnam before and it’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The cities are wild and chaotic, but as you go further out you are blown away by the stunning countryside. The culture is so different from home, and it’s amazing to immerse yourself in their customs and traditions.
After travelling for most of my life, I find it easy to adapt to different lifestyles. I love how although you might not speak the same language as someone else, there are always other ways of communicating. We realised this when we went to visit the Da Nang Association of Victims of Agent Orange. The organization runs a school that supports children who are affected by Agent Orange, allowing them to learn in ways that also contribute to their community. But something I found so beautiful was how we were able to gesture, dance, smile and laugh with one another without even speaking the same language.
I was blown away by the NIDA workshop. If you knew me 5 years ago, I was incredibly reluctant to do any form of public speaking. It would cause me to become anxious and get the shakes, because of a lack of self-confidence. I think that if my English teachers knew I was doing Miss Universe Australia, they would be shocked. Although I have already come a long way, when it comes to talking in front of a crowd, since 5 years ago, Natasha and Joe really were amazing in increasing my confidence, particularly in the way I presented myself, to display confidence and self-belief. The tricks they taught me, such as breathing, facial exercises and posture, are vital strategies that I have already found myself implementing into my everyday conversations and life.
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
The highlight of my trip would have to be meeting all the girls. We are all so different, and all have something special to offer. We all have different passions, interests and jobs. It’s so rare that you can gather with a group of people who are so diverse. I took the time to speak and listen to what everyone had to share, and through doing so, learned so much about others. I do strongly believe that every single person on that trip was incredible and inspirational, in their own unique way.
With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the program, what is something that sets you apart from the other finalists?
I feel that in a group full of smart and beautiful women it is difficult to stand out. As vain as it may sound, I feel as though I’m able to express my creativity through the way I dress and style myself. I dress how I’m feeling and what I feel best in. Considering that I strive for a career in the fashion industry, this makes sense. But also, if I want to be a role model and advocate for self-confidence, I need to be able to represent it myself. The way I dress is who I am. I literally wear my heart on my sleeve. This is a reflection of me as a person, which is genuine, honest and creative.
If you could ask our current Miss Universe Australia, Monique Riley, one question, what would it be and why?
Do you feel as though you have made an impact in your time as Miss Australia?
Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?
I’m a true believer in self-expression. If you are fully able to express yourself, this will allow you to feel confident and be happier. Having self-confidence allows me to dress in a way where I can express myself. I’m not saying you need to go out and buy a brand new outfit for every occasion, as I understand that it’s not sustainable for everyone to do that.
I personally love going into op shops, markets or finding small local businesses to purchase from. It’s also not environmentally conscious to buy a lot of different outfits, especially if you are shopping in fast fashion. This is why I often keep my eye out for good quality staple pieces that I know I can wear over and over again. I’m not saying I’m perfect, regarding this, because I have shopped at those fast fashion stores, but I am conscious of how often. I have also found that repurposing old, tired garments can bring them back to life. Some examples of garments that I have repurposed are pants that had a hole in the lower leg, which I cut to make some cute shorts and a single earring that I turned into a necklace.
Just because something is made for one purpose, doesn’t mean it can’t be used for another. I also encourage people to not throw their old clothes in the bin, as they could be very useful for someone else. This is why I encourage others to also donate or resell their old clothes. If you’re able to repurpose clothes, they become more tailored to you and these special pieces become one of a kind. This is why I love fashion so much, as with just a bit of creativity, there is unlimited potential when it comes to style.
To finish up the interview we have a few quick questions
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would love to live in a city like New York as I feel as though the fast-paced, vibrant and high-energy lifestyle would allow me to be super creative and express myself. Although I did live there when I was younger, I am mesmerised by all that the city has to offer.
What’s your ideal way to spend a day off?
I love spending time outdoors with my friends. Doing activities such as going on walks, or going to the beach are my favourite things to do in my spare time.
What makes you laugh out loud?
I am extremely lucky to have such and amazing group of friend and an incredible boyfriend who know me so well. I have found that I am drawn towards people who love to have a joke and a laugh, but who also, like me, hate to get caught up in negativity and gossip.