Well, it’s that time of year when the search to find Miss Universe Australia is well underway with State finals kicking off across the country.
Later this month at the Hotel Grand Chancellor , Surfers Paradise the judging panel will select the Queensland representatives in the 2015 Pageant.
Starting off our state finalist interviews we chat with Portia Large one of the contestants who will be competing for a place in the national final held on June 5 at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins where the countries finalists will be competing for the 2015 title.
Portia is a freelance presenter, producer of 92.5 Gold Fm’s Rush Hour show and surfer. Renowned for her endless energy, being a positive community leader and past recipient of the Order of Australia award and proudly shares her experiences and all things the coast has to offer on her blog “Your Girl Guide to the Gold Coast”
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today Portia Why did you decide to get involved in Miss Universe? What drew you to such a competition …?
It feels like a natural progression to be a part of Miss Universe Australia. All my life I’ve been focused on empowering others, from community service and leadership, to interviewing people from all walks of life to reveal their passions. I feel the Miss Universe pageant is an opportunity represent our incredible country and to empower others to make a difference
What do you think makes you the best representative of Queensland?
There’s no place like Queensland. With attractions like the Great Barrier Reef, stunning native wildlife, lush rainforests, our spectacular out back and the Gold Coast’s world class surf breaks; there really is something for everyone. Growing up sailing the Whitsunday islands with my family, it was inevitable I’d have a lifelong love for our great state! Living in a town which relies so heavily on tourism, I quickly learnt how important strong marketing and promotional tactics were esstial are to engage a global audience and increase visitor traffic. It is my dream that as people are immersed in the beauty of Australia they too will grow passionate about protecting paradise for future generations. As a spokesperson for various community organisations I’m ready to speak with confidence and knowledge to best represent not only Queensland but also Australia.
As a Gold Coaster, are there any issues that you believe need to be addressed to make our city the best it can be?
I feel so fortunate and proud to live on the coast. It’s been brilliant to witness this haven develop over the years. Natural beauty, practical new infrastructure and quality facilities make our home a tourism hub and in my opinion one of the most desirable living locations on the planet. I’d encourage the community and local business to embrace technology, growth and change. We are blessed to live this constantly evolving, safe community so let’s maximise our resources and champion our city.
Proudest accomplishment to date?
Aside from winning the Order of Australia Award, I was absolutely delighted to learn my employer Rohan Parnell, nominated me for the ‘Aspiring Young Business Women’s Award’. Here is a quote from his nomination: “Whilst producing an online election campaign for Steven Ciobo, Federal Member for Moncrieff on the Gold Coast, I called upon Portia’s assistance to scout youth for the footage. Recognising her efficiency, dedication and flair for the industry I suggested she establish her own talent scouting agency at age 19. Portia’s business, I C TV, now serves an impressive client base, including Southern Cross Austereo and continues to expand its services. Diving into the deep end Portia has proven herself as a successful young woman in business, welcoming new experiences, challenges and business lessons with grace and poise.” – Rohan Parnell Senior Producer at Southern Cross Austereo.
If you could describe yourself in 5 words or less, what would it be?
I’ve been told that I project a natural aura which enables comfort and calm; also that my determination to succeed and venture outside my comfort zone motivates others. My favourite three word description is: Portia Energy Phenomenon (PEP).
Do you have a mantra that keeps you going through any hardships or stress?
Your overnight success story is always a result of everything you’ve done in your life until that moment. You’ll face setbacks, negativity and performance gaps. My advice would be enjoy the journey and be patient.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?
I’m not afraid to chat with anyone and from a young age I’ve known networking, uniting and recognising passionate people would be driving forces in determining which career path I choose. Unfortunately, there is no one specific title for such an occupation. So finding my place in the world of work was a challange. My desires to present and produce became apparent when working at Southern Cross Austereo. Exposed to such an industry of power-house personalities, I was overwhelmed and inspired to continue to better myself and push my own limits in media.
The Miss Universe pageant is about empowering women. What do you this is the most important when it comes to empowering women?
In order to empower others, you must yourself be empowered. If you lack a skill necessary to your success, apply yourself until this performance gap is one of your greatest qualities. With a thirst for knowledge, excellent work ethics and deep determination to succeed, there is no doubt in my mind that women can empower themselves. Listen to your intuition, trust in your abilities and love yourself the way you are. Afterall, you create your life in every moment.
If you are successful in the Miss Universe Pageant you will become a role model to many young girls. What do you think are the attributes of a good role model …?
I believe a great role model not only leads by example but also observes and listens. Often I learn, simply by observing others. When you present yourself positively every day you are shaping those who observe and admire you.
I’ve received a lot of feedback which suggests I inspire others to venture beyond their comfort zone. If I can bring a smile to another’s face, inspire action or positivity I feel I’ve found my life’s purpose.
Who is your role model?
Other than winning the Miss Universe Pageant, What would you say are your biggest aspirations…?
Establishing and managing my own small business by 19 years of age, I was fortunate enough to gain a practical insight into the business world and am hungry to learn more and challenge myself further. I’d like to channel my knowledge to help and connect others. Next year I hope to team up with Flight Centre Australia producing and presenting content which reveals our country’s hidden gems, inspirational people and stories.
The Miss Universe Pageant has a long history of association with Charity. Are there any social causes that are particularly close to your heart that you would like to use the platform of Miss Universe advance?
Growing up sailing the Whitsunday islands with my family, I became fiercely passionate about Wild Life and Environmental Conservation. Founding my own organizations the environmental ‘Eco Kids Club’ supported by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the ‘Bee a friend, Lend a Hand’ book collection in support of Aboriginal Foster Children; And this is what led to Portia receiving the Order of Australia Award.
The charities above are close to my heart and my next mission is to raise funds for Queensland children and teenagers living with life-limiting conditions so that they too can achieve their own dreams. I’ve been selected as an official Ambassador for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon and will be running my first half-marathon to raise funds for the Hummingbird House.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice 5 years ago what would it be …?
Your overnight success story is always a result of everything you’ve done in your life until that moment. It won’t happen overnight.
Be patient and enjoy the journey.