Today we are catching up with Lauren Walker 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, Lauren why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I am 26, I grew up in country South Australia on a sheep farm, in a quaint little place called Furner. Where even today, there remains no mobile phone service! I now reside in country Victoria, in another little town you’ve probably never heard of- Nar Nar Goon- where I live on cattle and horse property.
I am a Registered Midwife-primarily focusing on antenatal and postnatal care of women and their newborns. I am also the co-director of a race horse company- MJL Racing, and currently in the works of developing my own luxury and sustainable swimwear line (Shh-spoiler alert).
In my spare time, you’ll find me in the kitchen-cooking, as this is my love language. My Nonna had a saying ‘stomaco pieno, cuore pieno’, which translates to ‘full belly, full heart’. If I am not whipping up a storm in the kitchen; I’ll have my boots on, hair up and be found doing work on the farm, be it horse riding or feeding one of our many rescue animals, which currently includes a camel and donkey.
I also take pride in considering myself as a sushi and coffee connoisseur.
We all have motivations, mine usually around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia?
I have admired previous titleholders who each go on to accomplish such unique and remarkable goals, this is what appealed to me. The MUA platform can unlock a multitude of opportunities and gives the winner the ability to advocate for a cause and accelerate their career or business ambitions. Assuming the title of Miss Universe Australia carry’s an important leadership role of privilege and responsibility- a role I aspire to embrace.
To add to this, the Miss Universe Australia program serves as an incredible opportunity for growth and development- something that aligns with my values as I continue to strive to be the best version of myself, recognise limiting beliefs and reassign my values.
In 2023- I set a goal to diminish my fear of failure and allow myself to take risks to chase my dream life. Hence, I entered MUA. Already, this experience has been transformative, allowing me to build confidence, communication and a strong sense of self. My hope is that little girls watch my journey and are inspired to pursue their dreams, regardless how big or small, so they too can accomplish something truly remarkable.
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?
Words cannot even explain how much of an incredible experience travelling to Vietnam with MUA was. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it is something I will be forever grateful for.
The experience allowed for personal growth and left me with a deeper sense of purpose. Some may think that being surrounded by Australia and Singapore’s most accomplished, beautiful and inspiring women might make one consider their place within the group. The reality is- it did the opposite! Spending the week sharing each other stories and ambitions, left me feeling self-assured and confident in the person I am. The connections made during this experience have already created life-long friendships, and this is what I cherish beyond the Miss Universe Australia experience.
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
After an extraordinary week, there were so many highlights, it is difficult to just chose one; A particularly unforgettable moment for me was the opportunity to participate in the official MUA swim campaign shoot. To have the chance to work with the best creatives in the business; Jarrad Seng- photographer, Alarna Bell-Makeup and Matthew Knight- Videographer, was the pinnacle of my trip. I have never shot swimwear or even modelled, so this was uncharted territory for me. There was a combination of nerves and excitement. However, the ‘A-Team’ including Sophia Barbagallo, made me feel comfortable, confident, and sexy, from the moment I stepped on set.
This was a challenge, and I was pushed beyond my comfort zone- but that’s what the entire MUA journey is about. The problem is it all went way too fast, I would love to do it all over again!
With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the program, what is something that sets you apart from the other finalists?
That is one of the best aspects of the MUA program-is the range of diversity amounts all of who are strong and inspiring women that makes this program truly exceptional. Each of the remarkable 25 finalists, are extraordinary in their own right, combining not only beauty, but intelligence, ambition and all with a heart to match.
My greatest asset is my mindset; I am drawn to being challenged and relish the opportunity to be pushed beyond my comfort zone. I have a strong mental grounding that allows me to navigate challenges and assists to see them as stepping-stones rather than a roadblock. Failure doesn’t hold me down; it only fuels my determination to be better.
Another point of uniqueness that sets me apart is I am a farm girl. I am genuine and come from a humble background, where I am today is a testament to my self-belief. Despite my glamorous appearance, don’t let that fool you- I am not afraid to get dirt under these nails. Growing up in the country demonstrates my resilience, determination, authenticity, and it allows me to connect with people from all ways of life. I believe this encapsulates the spirit of Australia – down-to-earth and hardworking, I think these are traits that people can resonate with me on.
If you could ask our current Miss Universe Australia, Monique Riley, one question, what would it be and why?
What do you perceive as the most essential qualities that a Miss Universe Australia should possess, and why?
Monique is not only an incredible Miss Universe Australia, but more importantly, an incredible woman. Inquiring into the essential qualities she deems as instrumental to her success, particularly in helping her to gain a Top 16 position at the international level, would offer an insight into the role of being Miss Universe Australia. Her response would provide valuable knowledge on how to navigate the title whilst remaining humble and grounded, and allow me to reflect on my qualities I possess.
Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?
A lot of things! We could be here all day if you want me to.
First and foremost; my passion revolves around inspiring young girls (and boys). I may not be a model- I want to be a role model. I want my aspirations and journey in my various careers, company and life itself to serve as an inspiration to others. My life is about creating a legacy; not about personal achievements, but the way in which I leave others feeling. I would like to leave people with a lasting impression, of confidence, strength and ultimately inspired to tackle their bigger dreams. Miss Universe Australia allows me to stand in the spotlight and demonstrates that your dreams are not confided by origins or circumstances.
I hope that others see a farm girl like myself taking the stage, and it becomes a prompt to other little girls regardless of their circumstances to think; ‘Why not me too?’. I hope this allows people to chase their dreams, overcome self-imposed limitations and embrace their potential.
Additionally, my role as a midwife revolves around my ability to empower women. I’m privileged to guide and support women and their families during an intimate time in their lives. I want to instil women with the strength and confidence to embrace their roles as new parents, leaving them feeling uplifted and inspired.
Ultimately, my passions are interwoven focusing on purpose and fostering empowerment, challenging limitation and nurturing the potential of those around me.
To finish up the interview we have a few quick questions
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Back home in Furner, South Australia, where I grew up. I would have a large farm, with a stone home and a wood fire. Ideally, I would love to live right around the corner from my family, so I could pop in for dinner-especially a Sunday roast.
What’s your ideal way to spend a day off?
DAYS OFF? What are they?
No sleep-in for me, wake at 7am for reformer Pilates, followed by coffee (obviously) with my besties. Then I would find myself in the kitchen baking something sweet or rolling out some gnocchi for lunch. The afternoon would include a ride on my horse, Fury, to a picnic spot joined by partner Mitch for some wine and cheese platter. The evening would ideally finish, if it were possible to teleport home to South Australia, to be with my family on the farm and enjoy a bonfire including roast marshmallows (of course).
What makes you laugh out loud?
My brother and dad- if you know you know. Their banter and quick-wittedness is unmatched. Nothing makes me laugh more than enjoying a family dinner all seated around the table and watching these two engage in a conversation.
Or.. Cat videos on TikTok.