Today we are catching up with Jessica Kernjak of Victoria, one of the 29 talented and inspiring women from all walks of life who are hoping to be crowned Miss Universe Australia 2021.
So Jess , why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I like to start my introductions by telling people that I will be the most spontaneous, clumsiest, accident-prone woman they will ever have the privilege of meeting.
Considering we haven’t met, you’ll have to take my word for it. Fresh out of high school, I gave my poor mother a heart attack setting off on a solo journey to Europe with three days notice. I’m sure they named “lastminute.com” after me. One look at my bloopers video from my Miss Universe Australia walk says it all about my clumsiness.
You could say I live a double life between my family’s farm and the city. I’ll go from milking calves in the cattle yard to being on set for a photoshoot in a heartbeat.
I am grateful to live the best of both worlds.
Aside from this, I am currently studying Veterinary and Wildlife Science to further pursue my undeniable passion for animals and environmental conservation.
We all have motivations, mine usually revolving around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering the Miss Universe Australia competition?
I agree with you; without my soy cap, there’s not a lot I can usually get done, but to be completely honest with you, I was in two minds about joining the competition. Still, I am not entirely sure what drove me to submit my application, but it is by far the best and most rewarding decision I have ever made.
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?
As the only Victorian finalist that got to make it on the finalist trip, I can say it was both an emotional yet wonderful experience. Considering the harsh lockdowns, Melbourne had to face over the past two years; it was devastating to leave not only my VIC girls behind but the wonderful sponsors that are based in Melbourne.
In terms of the trip itself, it was jam-packed with plenty of things to do from the crack of dawn ’til late in the evening, where we all gathered for family dinners.
I feel privileged to have experienced this with such an intelligent and diverse group of women.
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
Village Road Show single-handedly made me feel like a big kid again; the rides and atmosphere were just how I had remembered it. I felt nostalgic walking the runway down Main Street in Movie World; my body was flooded with adrenaline and confidence.
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?
If I became Miss Universe Australia 2021, I would love to put the grant towards furthering my education in Veterinary and Wildlife Science to protect and conserve our precious wildlife and educate the world on the global impacts we are inflicting on our environment.
With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the competition, what is something that sets you apart from the other contestants?
I have an infectiously adventurous spirit, a determination and tenacity that I think is unmatched. If I set my mind to something, no obstacle is too large for me to overcome.
I think these are qualities that, when used for the right intentions, can make huge impacts and contribute to areas of change in the world where they’re most needed. I have so much love and kindness to give to the world.
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?
The pandemic has been such a burden on us all financially, emotionally, and physically.
For me, adopting a “glass half full” mentality was key – seeing the light in the darkness.
Looking back on the fast-paced lifestyle I lead before the pandemic, I’ve definitely had time to reflect on the significance of self-care. I now prioritise what is truly important, the health and well-being of my family, taking time to relax and put your own needs at the top of your list. Once you have invested in taking care of yourself, you find the energy and strength to care for others.
What is the first thing you hope to do as soon as restrictions are lifted?
I’ve had to maintain a long-distance relationship with all my family and friends, so you bet I’ll be throwing a party to celebrate all the milestones we have missed over the past two years. Then I’ll book a ticket to Mykonos.
Final Five Questions
Favourite Place to Travel To?
EUROPE – specifically Croatia (a little biased), Greece and Italia MAMAMIA!
The highlight of the last year?
The State Finals, the National Finalist trip and my surprise 22nd (21+1) Birthday.
P.s that’s the only thing that has happened this year #lockdownlife
What is something people may find interesting about yourself?
Some people crave chocolate, I crave dill pickles out of the jar.
Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?
Fauna and flora conservation is detrimental to the survival of all life on Earth; the interconnected food chain is complex and intricate. My passion lies with animals and beautiful organisms that contribute to the equilibrium of the planet.
One piece of advice you have for us all?
Learn to love yourself; it is not selfish to put yourself first. You are your own biggest critic, don’t be too hard on yourself.
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.