We have asked her every pageant related question possible through her journey in Miss Universe Australia 2013 and when she was selected as a current finalist in Miss World Australia, but now, as she prepares to leave for the national final being held at the Oaks Hotels and Resorts Cypress Lakes, we decided it was time to dig a little deeper.
Courtney Thorpe has accomplished some pretty inspirational things for a woman her age. Not only does she have multiple qualifications and training in an array of areas from primary education, makeup, journalism, public relations, and fashion, she is also working as a fashion editor, the head of the styling department at a leading fashion institute, is starting her own business, is a front runner in this year’s Miss World Australia, has recently written her own children’s book and just to top it off has raised thousands of dollars for Variety the Children’s Charity in just a matter of weeks!
So we had Caitlin Bennett, ironically one of Courtney’s past students, sit down with the likely next Miss World Australia to give you an insight into who she really is and why we should all be behind her to win the crown and represent Australia at the international pageant being held in London later this year. After getting to know Courtney it is clear that with her genuine personality, kind heart and positive outlook on life, she is someone that we could all learn a lot from.
Courtney, what is success to you?
To me success is similar to the concept of “tomorrow never comes”. I think everyone, myself included, is so focused on this idea of being successful that we never stop to look at what we have accomplished, learnt and experienced along the way, and often times it is those elements that define us and make us who we are, not the idealistic end result dubbed “success”. It is also one of those things that once we reach what we were aiming for, often we have grown and developed so much since setting our original standards, that what we first considered to be success is no longer existent. So to me, progress is success. It is focusing on growing, developing, learning and improving every day.
What are your biggest goals for the future?
I have goals set out for many years to come and I don’t consider any of them to be bigger than the other. All of my goals are quite strategic and intertwine with one another, so whilst I do have long term goals, I try to focus on the one that is relevant at the time and make sure that I do everything in my power to achieve it. When that goal was getting into university, I studied my heart out, when it was starting my own business, I spent every spare moment developing my business plan, right now my main focus, being that it is only a few days away, is participating in Miss World Australia, after that my focus will return to my goal of starting my business and charity organisation.
What is your idea of happiness?
I know that this question is probably to spark a philosophical and deep answer, but to be honest as soon as someone asks me to explain what happiness is, only one image comes to my mind. I imagine myself at my parent’s house on the couch watching a Friday night movie with my Mum, Dad, brother and two dogs. To me that is true happines
Is there a person in your life who inspires you and why?
My parents. They are the two most hard working people I have ever met, and their stories of how they have both come to be so successful within their respective industries thanks to their relentless work ethic is inspiring to me. The fact that they have both been able to live such successful lives and still provide my brother and I with unwavering support and love is something I can only hope to imitate one day.
Is there a figure head in society you strive to be like and why?
I wouldn’t say there is anyone in society that I want to be like, but there are definitely people in society that inspire me. It is usually the people that have achieved things that most people would think are impossible, or have not lived within the constraints of stereotypes that are placed upon them that inspire me most. People who haven’t let age, gender, race, background, illness or disability stop them from achieving goals and dreams. I am very much in awe of the everyday heroes that give back to society and do their part to improve the life of another. It is these people that are achieving great things, and making substantial selfless contributions without seeking glory or praise, that are the people I strive to emulate.
Have you always been career driven and known exactly what you want out of life?
I think being career driven and knowing what you what out of life are both mutually exclusive concepts. I have always been driven to prove myself, not so much to other people, but more so to myself. I wouldn’t describe myself as career driven, but rather career focused. I am driven by my desire to constantly improve and progress, and as I am currently focused on my career, that is where I am channelling my drive.
Have I always known exactly what I want out of life? No, but I have always known that I didn’t want to settle, so as long as I never stop looking for opportunities and new experiences then I guess ultimately I am getting what I want out of life.
Do you feel like your ambition is driven internally or by people around you, or a combination of both?
Definitely internally. It is a part of who I am. In fact I would say it is probably why I am who I am! If it wasn’t for my ambition, I would never have sought out the opportunities that I have and therefore would never have had the experiences that have shaped me into being the person that I am. When I really think about it, a lot of who I am and the things I have achieved are because of my ambition.
Were there any childhood experiences which made you strive for success when you were growing up?
I was a bit of a nobody growing up. I was awkward, chubby, with buck teeth, too many freckles, bushy hair and pretty insecure. I was average at most things, I was never the worst at anything, but never the best. I used to watch my friends winning sporting events, and academic awards and I was so desperate to know what that felt like, to be so good at something that people recognised you for it. One moment in particular was when I wasn’t selected as part of a team at primary school. I was devastated but something in me just wasn’t willing to give up, so instead of walking away I went to every team meeting, despite not making it. They ended up splitting the team in two and accepted more members. Not only did I make the team, I was also made the new captain.
I think this was a defining moment that shaped my outlook on striving for success. It really did show me that patience, commitment and hard work does pay off, and those are the attitudes that I still live by today, and they still work! Because I was slightly lacking in the natural talent and ability department I had to work extra hard, and often still do, but as Kevin Durant said “hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
Have you had to make any sacrifices to manage such a busy schedule? Do you regret any of these sacrifices or do you feel like they have led you onto a better place?
I think when you are living a life that you really love, you don’t feel like you are sacrificing anything. It just all comes down to perspective on what you want out of life. If you are more focused on partying, then I am sure you would have found me skipping the party to go to an industry networking event as a huge sacrifice! Everyone is different, if you do what is right for you then you won’t regret it.
Have you ever had moments when you felt like slowing down or giving up on your dreams?
Never! My dreams are what I live for! They are what make me excited to get out of bed every day, to give up on them would be like giving up on life.
Has anyone in your life ever made you feel like your dreams were unachievable? How did it make you feel and how did you deal with them?
My friends and family used to question and doubt my dreams on a daily basis! It was a little frustrating but ultimately I just had to stay focused on what I wanted. To be honest I didn’t even know if my dreams were achievable, all I knew was that I wasn’t going to regret trying but I sure as hell would have regretted giving up! They believe in me even more than I believe in myself now! It has been a long time since I received a questioning look or interrogation about my plans for the future. Now when I have moments of feeling a little overwhelmed, I don’t have any of my friends or family encouraging me to give up and move on, I have every single one of them reminding me how much I have accomplished and telling me I can do it.
How have your friends and family supported you in achieving your dreams?
Although they haven’t always understood or agreed with what I was doing to reach my dreams, no matter what they were always there for me.
Many people feel lost in their 20s, as they find they have more and more responsibilities but are still unsure of which direction and career path to take. Have you ever felt like this, and is there any advice you could give to people in this position?
I strongly belief that each experience we face in life has the power to change who we are and alter our direction. Whilst I currently have a very clear view of where I envision my life going, I also know from experience that something unexpected could be just around the corner that could change everything. That’s what life is all about, that’s what makes it exciting! It’s a wasted opportunity if you don’t let your experiences change you. So if you don’t know where you are going, just focus on making the most out of every opportunity and experience that comes your way, you never know where it could lead.