Today we are talking with Miné Coetser from QLD on 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 Miné, why don’t you tell us about yourself?
Thank you so much for chatting with me today! This year has been such an incredible and crazy experience. I’m currently working full time as a model, as well as studying a bachelor of law & a bachelor of creative industries.
Both of these areas are major passions of mine, so to be able to study both is a privilege. I’m originally from South Africa. I was born in Pretoria and then immigrated to Australia when I was 8. Fun fact, English is my second language, and I only knew how to speak English I learnt from Hannah Montana when I moved 😛 – I’m the eldest of 4!
So I have a brother and two younger sisters, and I love my whole family to death. In my spare time, I love being active! Walking, Pilates and going for runs are my favourite past-times. When I get the chance, I also enjoy painting, and thanks to COVID, I’ve had more time to get creative.
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?
It’s such an incredible platform to be able to reach people and make an impact! Miss Universe Australia is something that I’ve always wanted to do.
I competed in a pageant when I was four years old & every afternoon, my grandpa made me practice my walk with him. I ended up winning haha! Modelling & pageants remind me of him & it’s something special to me. The program in itself has allowed so many women to grow individually and spread awareness about issues they are passionate about, and for me, that is child trafficking.
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?
2020 is a year no one will forget. It has been a massive learning curve for me, but I am most thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about myself. Initially, I was in quite a low headspace.
I thrive off being stressed and busy, so to suddenly do nothing had a massive impact on my mental health. I realised I found a massive portion of my identity in my productivity and performance.
The pandemic forced me to come to terms with this and begin to uncover “who is Miné?” – I also re-evaluated what my priorities and values are. We live in a world where we continuously strive for materialistic things; your job, money, designer, holidays, houses etc. But that can all be taken away from you in a second, and then all you have is your health and the people around you.
So as crazy as this year has been I’ve grown as a person, and I am so thankful that it has happened while I’m still so young, because these are things people sometimes don’t discover about themselves till much later in 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?
My age is definitely something very unique to me. Often when I speak to people about Miss Universe, they usually feel as though they are unable to compete because they’re “under-qualified” to be apart of the program. Initially, I felt inadequate competing against so many amazing women with much more life experience. I’m still studying. I only graduated from high school a year ago! But then I realised there is such a niche – Australia needs someone young people can relate to! I want to be an example for both young people and marginalised people, and show them that you don’t have to be in your 20s, you don’t need your degree, you don’t have to have started 1000 businesses in order to make an impact in society.
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?
I am so thankful for Simon and Minespec Parts for the opportunities they’ve given us. $20,000 is life-changing!
Initially, I wanted to put the grant towards my degree. I believe education is so important in order for society to continue to grow sustainably; however, as I said before, the COVID climate has given me more perspective on what I should value.
Human rights, particularly child protection, is an area I am passionate about and so is fashion. I want to combine both of my passions to start a fashion label which works closely with an organisation called Destiny Rescue. They rescue women and children from the sex trade in third world countries. My fashion label would employ victims who have been rescued and teach them vital skills to make an income, as well as paying them Australian working wages, as opposed to the low wages which they receive in their country.
First thing you will do when this pandemic ends?
I’m dying to travel overseas! I crave nothing more than a fresh croissant on the French coastline.
Place you will hope to travel to next?
Europe! I love the culture, and if it wasn’t for Covid, I would’ve enjoyed getting my tan on in the warm European summer.
Have you taken up a new hobby, skill or learnt a new dish during lockdown?
I am a horrible cook. I can’t ever seem to make a recipe work. But I tried my best to start cooking, and I have a couple of new easy and favourite recipes. Pesto zucchini noodles, prawn stir fry, banana nice-cream and Eimele Chocolate protein oats are some of my regulars!
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.