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 Madeline Cowe from Queensland, 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 Madeline, why don’t you tell us about yourself?
I was raised on a cattle farm in Far North Queensland. I grew up surrounded by nature, animals and adventure, three things that I still love having in my life today. At age 17, I left home and moved to Townsville and enrolled into a Bachelor of Laws which I have now graduated from. With my law degree I was able to learn and experience a lot, one of those experiences being the practical work I did through Women’s Legal Aid in Cairns, where I witnessed so many women’s and their children’s lives being changed for the better every single day – so this is something I will definitely go back to one day. At 19, I competed in Australia’s Next Top Model, which is where I first got involved in modelling and pageantry. Up until this point I had little to no experience in the industry and because I grew up in a small town I never really thought I would be able to pursue it as a career – this opened my eyes to a whole new world which I have been a part of ever since.
What would you say was your motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia?
I have been modelling full-time now for two years, and I feel like there is so much more that I can still achieve. Miss Universe Australia gives you a platform to empower and support women, affect change and to be charitable. I would love to use this platform positively to encourage youth that no matter where you are from, you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. I truly believe that there is no limit to your dreams, so dream big.
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?
It was my first time ever in Bali and couldn’t have asked for a better way to experience it for the first time. The Alila resorts were incredible and the staff were so friendly and hospitable – I definitely want to go back! Plus the knowledge gained through the workshops that we were able to do as a part of the MUA program were such a huge help leading up to the National Finals.
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?
Ohh there were so many great things, I don’t know how to choose just one. I loved that we were able to shoot with Jarrad, plus the personal development and walking classes were extremely helpful. We learnt about the Bali Life foundation and met some of the kids that they were helping put through school which was really wonderful. I also loved that I was able to meet all the other national finalists and build a relationship with them before the National Finals week in Melbourne. Things can get a little more hectic in Melbourne so it’s nice to know you have solid friendships already established and people you can turn to for help or advice if you need it.
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?
What I would do to be back in warmer weather! Haha. Working full time and preparing for MUA National Finals can be tough, but I would say preparation has been going well. I have made sure I have maintained a healthy lifestyle with a mixture of KX pilates, cardio and eating healthy as well as getting enough sleep and not overworking myself too much. We have also been so blessed with our sponsors this year which have made preparation so much easier, with everything from keeping fit with ABW store and our peach builder bands; to skin care with HIVITA.
With so many of you all bringing an individual flair to the competition, what do you think sets you apart from the other contestants?
Something different that I bring to the competition I would have say are my experiences and my upbringing – growing up rurally and now living in the city I’m very fortunate to have experience the best of both worlds. I come from a very close-knit family too and I feel that has allowed me to grow into a young woman my parents are proud of. Living in the city and working in the fashion/media industry, I can really be comfortable being myself because of my country roots; I am self-aware, grounded, thank full, while always trying to lead with kindness.
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?
I have always looked at the Miss Universe Australia title as a platform that can be used selflessly and positively. Something that I would love to be able to use the platform for is to encourage youth that no matter where you’re from you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. Having the Minespec Parts Grant come with the title of Miss Universe Australia, being such a generous prize, is so incredible. Having this for ourselves adds a whole new element to winning the title and I would be incredibly grateful if I were lucky enough to receive this.
And if you were lucky enough to receive the grant, what would you spend it on and why?
I have already completed a Bachelor of Laws which I am paying off and am currently working full time as a model here in Sydney – however I definitely have other passions and goals that I would be able to achieve with this grant.
Furthering my education has always been a consideration, as well as investing more in my family business. However, something that I would love to be able to do with the grant, and something I am extremely passionate about – is helping kids living in rural areas with the hardships that they face. What I would love to be able to do is to travel with rural aide charities, visit kids living in rural areas and talk to them about my experiences growing up rurally as well and the transition from this into the life I am now living. In the past, I have worked with my primary school, where all the kids are rural kids, with 60% of the student also being indigenous. I was able to raise enough funds to gift the library with a set of ‘Honey Ant Reader’ books that focus specifically on learning and development for indigenous kids.
I would also talk to the kids about me growing up in the same area and what I did to get to where I am now and spoke at my local high school as a guest speaker for International Women’s day. At the moment, as I am sure you are aware, many farmers are facing both devastating floods and drought and are in real need for aid and support. To be able to continue to influence rural kids positively, not just where I grew up, but nationally is something I have always wanted to do. For me, there is no better feeling in the world than knowing you have made a positive difference in someone’s life and this grant would allow me to continue to be a mentor and provide aid to rural kids not only where I grew up but Australia wide.
What is something people might find interesting about yourself?
Because I grew up on a farm I was always helping out my parents, and to do this I had to be able to drive motorbikes, 4-wheelers, tractors and cattle trucks. A lot of our cattle work was done with horses, so I have been riding for as long as I can remember. Living in Sydney and working as a model full-time I think a lot of people are surprised when they find out I’m a bit of a tom-boy at heart and that I won’t shy away from a bit of hard work and/or getting my hands dirty.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you or someone you know recently?
On the Easter weekend I promised my flat mate that I would house sit for her parents while they were away. On the drive to her parent’s place, people were giving us funny looks, some even waving at us to pull over. Once we arrived at her parents we realised that my back tyre was nearly flat! She was all but ready to call NRMA however I was adamant that I would be able to change the tyre myself. I started out well, but when it came to taking the tyre off I couldn’t get the nuts to budge! The only way I managed to loosen them and get the tyre off was by jumping on the wheel spanner. She thought it was funny and filmed the whole thing. It would have looked pretty ridiculous to anyone walking by, but at the end of the day I changed the tyre myself! Haha.
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?
I had no choice but to move out of home when I was 17 to pursue my legal studies at James Cook University, so I learnt at quite a young age what it really meant to be an adult. Being an adult in general is tough – you have the pressure to excel at in your career/studies, stay on top of your finances, maintain a social life and so many more responsibilities like tax, registering to vote (actually voting), and well as doctor/dental check ups… and the list goes on.
However, I consider myself quite an independent person, so there is nothing that has really disappointed me about ‘adult life’ – if anything I am proud of myself for what I have been able to achieve. Something that it has made me realise and grow a new-found appreciation for is my parents, and all the hard work, effort and dedication they put into raising my two sisters and I to ensure we had the best upbringing that they could provide. There have been times where I have struggled to just look after myself let alone run a business and raise 3 kids!
What advice would you offer any young women hoping to follow in your footsteps?
In life, I have found that if you are passionate enough about something then you can find a way to make it work. If modelling is something that you have always wanted to do then go for it! However the industry can be tough and it isn’t always an easy job. Like all professions you have to work your way up, establish relationships and show that you’re hard working and can do your job well. There will be knock-backs and criticisms but you have to take it all constructively and not let it affect your sense of self. the trick is to not take it too personally (which is always a lot easier said then done). I feel very fortunate that I am able to do something I love as my full-time job and I don’t take it for granted at all.
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.