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 Marijana Radmanovic from Victoria, 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 Marijana, why don’t you tell us about yourself?
My name is Marijana Radmanovic, but everyone calls me MJ (much easier to pronounce) I came to Australia when I was just 4 years old & I have a Serbian background. Since then, I have completed my tertiary education; a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Marketing from Monash University. I am currently working as a full time model & absolutely love what each day brings. My passions include fashion, photography, traveling, cooking & eating good food. Oh, and you could probably add ‘professional pancake maker’ to my list of skills that I possess.
What would you say was your motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia?
I competed in the MUA competition in 2016 & 2017 and can honestly say that it has played such a huge role in my life. Before entering this program, I was quite shy and reserved, I felt awkward in social situations & never really had the confidence to be myself around strangers. This program completely takes you out of your comfort zone. It teaches you to be more confident, to be assertive, self-disciplined, how to network with others, how to work on your own personal branding, public-speaking skills & lastly, to accept certain defeats in life. I know that some people have this misconception that ‘pageants’ are superficial, but I honestly do not look at this competition as a pageant – it’s a developmental program, and for anyone who met me in 2016 and can compare it to the woman that I am today, will see that I am a perfect example of how much growth this program can really bring to your life. This was all my motivation to come back, stronger, wiser & more confident than ever.
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 absolutely phenomenal! We were lucky enough to stay at 3 different Alila locations (Uluwatu, Manggis, Seminyak) which were all so different, but super picturesque and special. You really need to visit these destinations to see for yourself why it left so many of us in awe.
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?
The friendships! The bonds that I made on this trip with the girls was definitely the highlight of Bali. We created some pretty amazing memories together every single day- dancing till our feet were sore, singing till we lost our voices and laughing till we were in stitches. It was so nice to see everyone getting along & not being afraid to be themselves. I won’t lie, ditching boot-camp one arvo to lounge by the pool and sip on strawberry daiquiri’s with our director, will also go down as one of the best memories 🙂
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?
I am feeling quite calm (surprisingly) I think having competed before it has definitely taken some of that edge off, maybe because I now know what to expect. I am just SUPER excited to reunite with all the girls & get onto that stage once again! In saying that, not much of my normal routine has changed leading up to finals. Generally, I eat relatively healthy & exercise whenever I get the chance to, so I’m just following my normal routine & not depriving myself of any foods, or putting any excess pressure on myself. Balance is key!
With so many of you all bringing an individual flair to the competition, what do you think sets you apart from the other contestants?
Having competed twice before in the Miss Universe Australia program, I experienced first hand what it truly means to win, without winning the crown. Although on the night I may have felt like a failure, I now genuinely see how much I have grown as a woman, the resilience and strength that I’ve developed, and the confidence I’ve gained, to follow my dreams irrespective of what anyone thinks. Going into the competition this year, I’ve entered with a completely different mind-set & it has made a HUGE difference. Taking all that pressure away from yourself can really make you enjoy the process that much more.
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 was absolutely mind blown when I heard that Minespec Parts would be offering the winner a $20,000 grant, especially because I have had a business plan for quite some time now. This definitely played a substantial part in my decision towards entering the program again.
And if you were lucky enough to receive the grant, what would you spend it on and why?
If I was lucky enough to receive the Minespec Parts grant, I would put it towards a business start-up. For years I have been infatuated with fashion, particularly women’s fashion, but I knew that there was more to starting a fashion label, than just having a ‘good eye’. After completing my Bachelors degree in Psychology & Marketing, I learnt about the importance of consumer behavior, business strategies & digital marketing. This, along with my experience in the fashion and modeling industry over the last decade, will be the perfect combination for starting my very own label – focusing on transeasonal, timeless pieces that women of all shapes & sizes can wear & feel super confident in.
What is something people might find interesting about yourself?
I was part of a Serbian humanitarian dance group for 12 years. We traveled around Australia performing at various states and raising funds for certain causes. Some of my closest friends to date, I actually met through this dance group. When I wasn’t dancing, I was playing tennis or working towards becoming a professional high jumper (you could say I was a pretty active child/teen).
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you or someone you know recently?
I recently went on a Hens trip and on the flight back home from QLD to Melbourne, someone let out a fart on the plane. Everyone started pinching their nose & screaming ‘who did that?’ Naturally, my friends and I all started asking each other if it was one of us, and because I blush so easily, my face turned bright RED! Everyone on the plane started staring at me, thinking that I was the culprit- I was mortified! (I promise it wasn’t me). Later on, one of the girls in our group admitted to doing it, AFTER I basically took the blame
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, all I remember wanting to do was to turn 18 so that I could get my drivers license and have the freedom to do whatever I want. I couldn’t wait to become independent in every possible way. However, as an adult, I must admit, life was so much easier when Mum & Dad were paying all the bills.
What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
Make the most of your fast metabolism, because I’ll tell you now, as you get older, it really does slow down 🙂
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.