Today we are catching up with Maddison Cottle 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, Maddison why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a 23-year-old entrepreneur from Melbourne. After studying a Bachelor of Speech Pathology for two years, my career took a turn when I started an e-commerce business called For the Soul AU in lockdown selling framed zodiac prints, prints for loved ones and gratitude journals for both adults and children. I was able to turn this into a successful, full-time business, now I’m wearing all the hats in marketing, financing, sales and customer service.
Since then, I have launched a second business called Market Me Mads, where I wrote an Ebook on everything I did to create a successful business for other small business owners.
We all have motivations, mine usually around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia?
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and I feel so blessed and so lucky to live a completely symptom free life, and it does not impact me in any way thanks to modern-day technology and medication.
However, initially, I did not know this was going to be the case. I have experienced first hand the toll it takes on your mental health to receive a medical diagnosis, and that is why I feel so passionately about the support surrounding the mental health of those who receive one. I have asked “why me?” an endless amount of times and I have decided this is why.
The motivation behind applying for Miss Universe Australia was my passion to advocate and educate on this topic and raise awareness about preventative measures we can take to minimise the risk of any medical diagnosis where possible.
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?
Visiting Vietnam on the National Finalist Trip is a memory I will hold close forever. I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such an incredible team of creative directors, photographers, videographers, hairstylists, and makeup artists in such a beautiful country like Vietnam. This trip gave me the opportunity to make lifelong friends and learn life skills I will carry with me forever.
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
The entire trip was absolutely wonderful, but spending time with a group of women from both Australia and Singapore from all walks of life was the most special. Each girl showed up as herself, each one unique, bringing something incredible to the group, all with the common goal to do good in the world and be an inspiration to Australia. It was beautiful to see each woman embracing her individuality yet coming together as a team, empowering one another and being truly supportive. The women on this trip truly embodied the values of Miss Universe Australia and the sisterhood we share.
With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the program, what is something that sets you apart from the other finalists?
Receiving a life-changing diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis just months before my 21st birthday has had a major impact on my outlook on life, which sets me apart from other finalists. At the time of my diagnosis, I did not know what my future would look like, and I had never been so scared for my life. There was a period of time in the beginning where I had difficulty walking and after 2 years in to being completely symptom free with a stable condition, I am now so incredibly grateful for my body and everything that it does for me.
This experience is what makes me unique, it has truly taught me what it means to be thankful for life. Don’t spend it picking apart your body, be kind to yourself, it does so much for you. Don’t take what your body does for you for granted because at any given moment, it could be taken away from you, so take every opportunity that comes your way and live life to the fullest.
If you could ask our current Miss Universe Australia, Monique Riley, one question, what would it be and why?
If I were to ask Mon one question, it would be, what has been your biggest struggle as Miss Universe Australia? It is so often, particularly on social media, that we show the highlights of our life and this is sometimes not intentional at all. It is scary to be vulnerable, and sharing it isn’t always what crosses your mind when you’re going through a difficult time. Mon has done a wonderful job at being vulnerable, open, and honest on her social media. I’d love to know her greatest challenge whilst holding the title!
Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?
At least one person takes their life everyday while suffering with a serious medical diagnosis, contributing to more than 3000 deaths of, Australians who commit suicide each year. The fourth most contributing factor to suicide is physical illness, and that is why I feel so passionately about the support surrounding the mental health of those who receive a serious medical diagnosis.
As a woman living with multiple sclerosis, I have vulnerably shared my story on social media where it has reached more than 6 million people around the world, giving hundreds of thousands of people the opportunity to share their story and connect with one another supporting each other’s mental health. I will continue to advocate, educate and make changes to reduce the mental health and suicide rates related to medical diagnosis’s.
To finish up the interview we have a few quick questions
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
If I could live anywhere in the world, it would absolutely be in the UK. I have always dreamt of a white Christmas, with reindeers, snowflakes, and Santa Claus. It is most definitely on my bucket list!
What’s your ideal way to spend a day off?
I am definitely starting my morning with my blinds open so that I wake up with the sun, followed by a morning walk around the river with a smoothie from the local café. I am buying fresh flowers for my home before going out for lunch with a friend and finishing the day with a home cooked dinner, a bath and a good book.
What makes you laugh out loud?
When I am spending time with my friends and family is when I am my happiest and spend the most time laughing out loud. I love a good belly laugh where you can’t catch your breath, and you continue adding to it and laughing even harder! It’s good for the soul.