We’re excited it’s that time of the year again when we get to introduce you to the contestants of Miss Universe Australia. We’re kicking off our eighth year of finalist interviews with Julia Edwards from Western Australia, one of the twenty-eight talented, and inspiring contestants from all walks of life who are vying for the title of Miss Universe Australia 2019.
So Julia, why don’t you tell us about yourself?
My name is Julia Edwards and I am 21 years old. Don’t be fooled by my English-sounding last name…I moved to Western Australia 9 years ago with my mum and sister from the city of Saint-Petersburg, Russia. Entering high school in a new country, with a sub-par knowledge of the English language was a challenge in the beginning. However, despite these difficulties, I am proud to say that I am now finishing my degree in Psychology and Marketing at the University of Western Australia, working in the fashion industry and planning exciting future endeavors!
What would you say was your motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia?
When I was presented with the opportunity to enter Miss Universe Australia, I saw the competition as a way to challenge myself by plunging into a novel situation and embarking upon tasks I never dreamt of undertaking. I was motivated to gain oratory skills and gain more confidence in public speaking I was attracted to the social and philanthropical side of the competition. Meeting and forming relationships with new people, and establishing exciting networks was also my key drive.
The program is certainly full of amazing experiences in the lead-up to finals, You’ve just returned from the National Finalist Trip to Bali staying at the sensational Alila Hotels. How was this experience?
The MUA Bali Trip, was without a doubt, one of the best holidays I have ever been on. The level of service and the stunning architecture of the Alila Hotels was exceptional, and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to partake in this experience. The only downfall of this lavish adventure was the reality of coming home, where I was no longer presented with fruit platters and pastry selections at breakfast and my room was not cleaned the moment I stepped out! What a shock!
The Bali Trip is a combination of finals boot camp, personal development and team bonding exercise with a tropical escape thrown in for good measure, what would you say are some of the best things you’ll take away from the trip?
Although we participated in many exciting activities and adventures, such as surfing, yoga, personal development workshops, volunteering and photoshoots, the best aspect by far was the friendships which we fostered over such a short period of time between all 28 contestants. Getting to know the individual quirks, talents and the unique stories behind every girl was my favourite part of the trip – it felt like becoming a part of a team. This of course, is the polar opposite of what you might assume about Miss Universe contestants, but I truly believe that on this trip, we formed friendships that will last a lifetime.
So now you’re home and, winter has set in and the finals are only just around the corner, how are you feeling in the leadup to Melbourne and what sort of preparation are you doing before finals week?
This has been the most thrilling stage of the competition, with the finals looming like a light at the end of the tunnel. I have felt a wave of energy, a drive to assemble myself in every possible way for the coming trip to Melbourne. My preparation has included a rigorous routine of exercise such as running, swimming, weight and strength training, pilates and yoga. This consistent regime, paired with a healthy (not without indulgence) diet, has made me feel more powerful and confident in the lead up to the show. I have also been writing and contemplating some of the concepts and topics which may arise during the closed panel interviews as well as on stage. I believe that being equipped with knowledge will give me peace and mental strength.
With so many of you all bringing an individual flair to the competition, what do you think sets you apart from the other contestants?
How to answer this question without sounding conceited? I believe I posses exceptional people skills, as I have a knack of being able to find an individual approach to making someone feel at ease and begin to form a positive relationship with that person. I also gain a great deal of energy from engaging with a crowd and I believe I can captivate the attention of an audience which is a key task as a Miss Universe contestant.
Your next question comes from Simon Ross of Minespec Parts
How much of a deciding factor for entering this year, was the Minespec Parts Grant of $20,000 to put towards your education or business startup?
In all honesty, I didn’t know about the grant until after I was awarded the title of Miss West Coast and we were in the National stage of the competition. I entered without being aware of the Minespec Parts award, and of course it came as a very welcome surprise.
And if you were lucky enough to receive the grant, what would you spend it on and why?
If I was fortunate enough to become the recipient of this grant, I would put the money towards my degree, as it would alleviate some of the pressures of the impending HECS debt. I would also donate a generous amount to the Heart Kids Foundation, as it is a charity which I have worked with in the past and support to this day. My little twin brothers were born with congenital heart issues, so I bear a deeply personal connection to the Foundation, as it is vital in helping children with similar health issues.
What is something people might find interesting about yourself?
I am a very creative person. I grew up in the cultural capital of Russia, surrounded by rich heritage and appreciation of the arts and insanely beautiful architecture. This has influenced my passion for music, art, literature, poetry and acting, which I still engage in too this day. I believe that exercising the creativity within us is an essential part of being human, as it opens a unique, elevated level of cognition.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you or someone you know recently?
A couple of weeks ago, whilst I was sitting in a cafe, I was observing the humans that were galivanting along the coastal footpath. At this stage there was seemingly nothing too amusing going on. It wasn’t until a father came skating by on his motorized, battery-powered skateboard. Lodged between his feet on the deck of the skateboard was a young child. Hanging onto his right shoulder and arm was another child. It was the boy in his arms that made me laugh hysterically. The child swinging off his father’s arm was holding a full cone of soft serve ice cream. Out of nowhere and for no apparent reason, in a windshield-wiper fashion, the small boy smashed the ice cream into his Dad’s face. It was a direct hit. Right between the eyes. I couldn’t hear the laughter from where I was, but the hysteria that soon followed on both of the children’s faces was contagious. I found myself laughing at the misfortune of the father but also enjoying the mischievousness of the little boy. The dad brought the skateboard to a standstill and was in a state of utter confusion. He was too embarrassed to get angry and it was clear that he couldn’t help but laugh along with his kids that were now rolling on the floor.
As a child, what did you think would be awesome about being an adult, but isn’t as awesome as you thought it would be?
As a child (and in fact to this day) I was not fond of being told what to do. I was begruntled by my inability to make autonomous decisions, constantly encountering the word “no” when it came to watching cartoons, eating sweets or playing on the computer. I was always looking forward to the day when I wouldn’t have to abide by someone else’s word and at 21 I have definitely reached that stage. However, with autonomy, comes the great weight of responsibility, and as an adult you are held accountable not just by your mum but by much scarier institutions such as the banks, the government and the legal system. Being able to dictate the proceedings of my own life is a fine line of freedom and accountability.
If you were to write a children’s book, what would it be about?
I always dreamt about writing a sci-fi adventure book about a group of boys and girls who get to travel in space, jumping through black holes to discover new universes, planets and creatures. It would of course be filled with drama, heroic gestures and applicable life lessons.