Today we are catching up with Elissa Laforce of New South Wales, one of the 29 talented and inspiring women from all walks of life who are hoping to be crowned Miss Universe Australia 2021.
So Elle , why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Elissa Laforce, 23 years young. Born and raised in south-western Sydney. I have Belgian and Italian heritage; this means growing up surrounded by lots of love, Elvis records, Nonna’s lasagne, pizza, pasta and of course- I can’t forget the homemade Belgian waffles.
I have a bachelors degree in design, currently working for an Aussie brand as an Ecom/Digital marketing assistant and in house model! (Get the best of both worlds, really!)When I’m not working- you’ll find me jamming out to Elvis/Frank Sinatra (two of my personal favourites), most likely eating the biggest bowl (not plate!) of pasta I can find around the house!!
We all have motivations, mine usually revolving around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering the Miss Universe Australia competition?
I’d be lying if I didn’t mention my mum! In all seriousness, she is one of the main motivators I’ve had during this program and in life! – She is the most incredible person you’ll ever meet! I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it wasn’t for her.
Ohh, I absolutely have to agree- Great motivation does stem from good coffee- I LOVE coffee as well- in every form tiramisu/cappuccino/espresso, haha!!- I’m currently sipping on coffee whilst I do this interview! ?
As part of the program, you recently spent some time up in our hometown of the Gold Coast with the Village Roadshow team; what was the experience like?
One word- Incredible, I absolutely loved it, what a beautiful hometown you have –
I haven’t been to the Gold Coast in over ten years. It was such a lovely memory refresh!
I loved every minute. From the incredible show at Outback Spectacular to the rides at MovieWorld, let’s be honest, I’m absolutely petrified of rides!
I also have to mention the BEST caesar salad I’ve ever had (still think about it today!) at the SeaWorld resort lobby. I had it four days in a row.
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
Oh, how can I only narrow it down to just one highlight- there was soo many!! So I’ll touch on my three favourite highlights; I really can’t narrow it down!
1. Having the opportunity to catwalk down the centre of MovieWorld, Oh my, it was absolutely insane, Life goal- achieved.
2. Swimwear shoot with Jarrad and the team – What an absolute legend he is, seriously!!
3. Meeting all the girls in person (sadly missing the VIC gals ?), I formed some very close friendships. I’ll forever be grateful for the MUA experience and the incredible women I met; I can now call these close girls friends for life.
If you win the title of Miss Universe Australia, you will receive the prestigious Minespec Parts Education and Business grant worth $20,000; what would you do with the grant and why?
I ultimately have had this dream for quite a few years now… I would love nothing more!! To create a mentoring program that focuses on “nurturing young women minds”, I personally had a few difficult years in high school. I would love to be a “relatable older sister” to younger Australian women.
Sure- it’s a quite big dream, and let me tell you how I would achieve this. First, I’d create a program that’s aligned with the high school curriculum. Then, I’d share my knowledge/skills/tips and tricks on how I’ve nurtured my mind over the past few years.
I’ve honestly picked up so many life lessons and tricks from people within the fashion industry. As a working woman in my industry as a model/intern(at many fashion brands)/warehouse picker and packer. I’ve accumulated a few job titles over the past six years – I’d like to say I’ve seen and met lots of great, captivating people with appreciable life outlooks.
I would say some of these people have changed the way I think about particular life challenges. “Leah Darrow” is one of these people for me (personally). – she has truly changed my life, and I would love nothing more to be an “Elissa Laforce” to a young woman like Leah Darrow was to me.
This program would also include having women from other industries/life paths accompanying me on these school trips- to help educate and give their own personal tips and tricks on how they nurture their minds. I know that it’s essential to nurture the younger generation of women (our future leaders), especially when they are 15-18. I like to think this age group is when they are the most impressionable.
If this program progresses into other incredible avenues, like a potential podcast and an app! This would be just the icing on the cake- I could reach young women all around Australia at all times and be an accessible resource to young women everywhere.
With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the competition, what is something that sets you apart from the other contestants?
I made a promise to myself at the very beginning of this program to just be myself compassionate, strong-willed, a little goofy and genuine; what you see is what you get! Oh, and I do tend to cry a lot- you could call me an empath!
The beauty of it all is that I’m the only Elissa Laforce, and I’m my power. I’ve never been much of a follower, and I have always done “my own thing”. I’ve been the leader of my own life, as I like to say. I’ve been taught three great life lessons (I would love to share these life lessons with people from all walks of life) to love deeply, fight hard and never be afraid of what makes you, YOU.- I live by these three lessons. Every. damn .day
Ohh! and I do have a pretty cool last name (not to toot my own horn here!) It’s Laforce- so that technically means I’m THE FORCE to reckon with! ?
The last eighteen months certainly have been challenging for all of us; what would you say has been something you’ve gained or learned from the whole experience?
To simply appreciate more. I mean in every aspect of my life. For example, not being able to see certain family members for months at a time- has been extremely hard on me.
I have also learnt to disconnect from social media when needed and to be more present. This really helped me appreciate the life I’ve been given.
On a lighter note- I totally failed at the whole baking trend- however, I managed to become quite skilful in the art of tapestry!!
What is the first thing you hope to do as soon as restrictions are lifted?
Hug my best friends (they are more like my sisters) – I want to do nothing more. Ahh, I’m getting emotional thinking about it.
Final Five Questions
Favourite Place to Travel To?
Italy- Amalfi Coast! Oh, actually scrap that- anywhere in Italy would be absolutely Bellissima!!!
The highlight of the last year?
It would have to be my Nonna (grandmother) turning 80 years old (anyone who knows me well knows Nonna is my number 1). So we had this beautiful “at home” restaurant set up for her. Name placements/flower arrangements and all; it truly was a beautiful evening. It was actually the same day I filmed my MUA application video-so definitely a very special day!!
What is something people may find interesting about yourself?
I’m a twin! Fraternal twin, to be exact- I mean, I am the older twin by 14 mins (had to mention that!) My twin brother and I share a really special and close bond! I think twin telepathy is totally a thing!
Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?
I’m extremely passionate about creating awareness and education around breast cancer. Breast cancer has been a part of my mother, and nonnas lives for over 15 years now, being the third generation on my mother’s side. I put myself in the position to learn more and more about the disease every day. It’s a disease that many Australians face. The stats (in Australia) are currently at 55 people diagnosed a day, two people being diagnosed per hour, and sadly nine people losing their battle with the disease a day. These stats are on the rise each and every year. I would love NOTHING more than to fight/be a voice of reason, to help and ensure the goal of zero deaths by 2030 is achieved. I want to do this on behalf of my mother and nonna (the STRONGEST women in my life) and all.
One piece of advice you have for us all?
I mentioned it earlier in this interview, and I’ll repeat it for all the people down the back. The distance between dream and reality can only be shortened by action. So why not take the leap and give it a try. I promise it’ll be worth it ??
Thank you to
Minespec Parts are proud to be partnering with Miss Universe Australia, Working to empower and support women not just through the Miss Universe Australia pageant and their $20k education and business grant, but through many platforms with various activities across Australia all furthering and supporting women in the workplace.