Today we are talking with Maddison Coluccio from NSW one of the twenty-eight. Talented and inspiring women from all walks of life who are vying for the title of Miss Universe Australia 2020.
In what has certainly been an unpredictable and unprecedented year of ups and downs we’re thrilled to bring you our ninth year of Miss Universe Australia finalist interviews.
So Maddison, why don’t you tell us about yourself?
I am an Actor, Model and Voiceover Artist from Sydney Australia. I was initiated into the entertainment industry at the ripe age of 12. Eventually, my love for performance developed into a career, and I began training as an actor in both Sydney and Los Angeles.
I grew up on a farm, where my Italian family instilled a deep adoration of nature within me and fostered my genuine love of FOOD! I am a yogi, a passionate advocate for body image resilience, a doggo enthusiast, a dreamer and supporter of social, racial and environmental reform.
The Miss Universe Australia program has been on hold since earlier in the year and now making its way towards a virtual final to be held on October 28, What motivated you to enter the Miss Universe Australia Program?
Initially, I was motivated to apply for Miss Universe Australia because I knew I had A LOT of learning to do, I have always had enormous dreams, and the program was an excellent opportunity for career progression.
I wanted to embark on a journey of self-discovery and push myself both mentally and physically because change doesn’t occur within your comfort zone!
It’s safe to say I am a different person to 2019 Maddison. But, what I have indeed come to realise is that winning Miss Universe Australia is an enormous privilege, but with that privilege comes enormous responsibility. Yes, I am a model, but I am so much more. There’s 7 billion of us, and I truly believe we all have a unique purpose. For me, I have finally discovered my purpose, my uniqueness and Miss Universe Australia will allow me to step into that purpose, use it to ignite conversations, serve others and encourage women around the world to do the same.
This year has been like no other, how have you been coping so far and what’s been the biggest challenge and positive that has come out of it all?
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a year like no other. It has proven itself to be exceedingly challenging for the majority of the planet. The biggest challenge for me was the adjustment or the lack thereof.
I have worked incredibly hard to secure consistent work in an industry I love and to slowly feel the work deteriorate and come to a complete halt was a huge challenge.
For me, this was a slippery slope. I know I am not alone when I say isolation disrupted my routine, my health and my happiness. And above all, it prompted a cycle of negative thoughts and a detrimental inner dialogue with myself.
Suddenly I was experiencing an abundance of spare time to reflect, and when everything began to slow down, I was able to reconnect with myself. I was able to spend time with myself. I was able to live simply without the constraints that are imposed on me on a daily basis. I was able to live boundlessly, discover what I love about myself and wear it like a badge of honour. Most of all, I rediscovered how important it is to be grateful for what I once considered my “normal” life, because my “normal” life is a privileged life.
With everyone bringing such an individual flair to the competition, what do you think is something that will set you apart from the other contestants?
I believe it’s so important to acknowledge that each and every one of the women participating in this competition has so much individual value. And it is essential to remember that empowered women empower women.
We need to help to build each other up rather than compete with each other. However, it is also essential to appreciate, embrace and be grateful for all of our unique qualities that do set us apart.
What may set me apart is my innate sense of ambition. I will not give up. EVER. I am grateful that I have and will always work relentlessly towards my goals and inspire others to do the same. I am different, and that is my difference.
The winner of Miss Universe Australia 2020 will also receive the prestigious Minespec Parts grant worth $20,000 to spend on your education or business startup, what would you do if you received this grant? And would you say your answer has changed now during the current COVID climate?
If I were to receive the Minespec Parts grant, I would use it to develop a business initiative aimed at taking a more sustainable approach to Australian Agri-business, particularly in the tropical banana-growing regions of North Queensland.
Ultimately, I would love to implement an agricultural waste system that would comprise of 3 different bins. One for hard plastics, one for soft plastics and one for food waste. Annually, a mammoth 30 million bananas are discarded because they don’t meet the standards of Australian consumers. Subsequently, these bananas end up in landfill, creating toxic greenhouse gases.
Scientists have developed a process in which cellulose is removed from the stems of the plant which are called pseudostems. These pseudostems are able to be made into bioplastic which can go on to be made into clothing and other commodities/textiles.
This also provides a solution to sustainable fashion. In addition to this exceptionally high level of food waste, Australian farms also produce an exceptionally high level of plastic waste. All of this wastage will be collected and taken to factories in which they are transformed into either bioplastic to be then turned into commodities or recycled for re-use, functioning within a sort of closed economic system.
There are also plastic initiatives in place where farmers can then go on to generate a type of “plastics credit”. These credits can then be sold to generate an income and help to fund the scheme.
I am still very passionate about this idea and believe it has the scalability to help face our agricultural waste problem. However, as I mentioned earlier, my Miss Universe journey has taught me a lot about myself and where my passions lie. I would still use the grant to develop this initiative, but, I would also like to create a non-profit, informative platform aimed at dismantling harsh beauty standards.
The Covid climate has given rise to mental illness, and for myself, this manifested in the form of self-loathing, anxiety and hating my body. This resource would provide support and an open discussion for those suffering from the debilitating effects of societal conditioning and help women to realise we are far more than just our bodies.
First thing you will do when this pandemic ends?
Eat a Croissant, while sipping a cappuccino under the Eiffel Tower.
Place you will hope to travel to next? Hopefully to my grandparents’ home town in Calabria.
Have you taken up a new hobby, skill or learnt a new dish during lockdown?
I have learnt how to do a headstand, and I am on my way to the splits! However, it’s important to note there were many days where I was not productive and didn’t learn anything! And that is totally fine. We are living through a global pandemic and just getting out of bed is enough.
Minespec Parts are proud to be the presenting sponsor for 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.