Well, it’s that time of year when the search to find Miss Universe Australia is well underway with finalists being selected across the country.
Early next month at the Sofitel on Collins Melbourne the judging panel have the incredibly hard job of selecting the 2015 Miss Universe Australia.
Today we are chatting with finalist Danni Johnson from Queensland who is one of the national finalists who will be competing for the 2015 title of Miss Universe Australia and hoping to follow in the footsteps of Jennifer Hawkins, Rachael Finch, Jesinta Campbell and last years winner Tegan Martin.
First of all the all-important introduction tell us a little about yourself…?
I’m Danni Johnson – I live and work in inner-city Brisbane, working full-time in hospitality and events. My background is in studying business law but I also take a keen interest in the areas of nutrition and natural medicine and hope to combine these three competencies soon to produce my own business with the goal of educating and leading Australians to their highest levels of health and vitality.
Danni Congratulations on making it so far in such a coveted competition! We have to ask how has the overall experience been so far …? And how are you feelings in the lead up to the finals. ..?
This is my second consecutive year in the competition and it’s always an exhilarating, albeit nerve-wracking, experience. I actually think though, that I’m a lot more relaxed leading into Nationals week this year than last; I think when you take the competition as a personal challenge, and concentrate on the self-development and self-evolution, celebrating your victories in these areas along the way, then you’re really able to enjoy process and remove most of the nerves surrounding the competition.
With contestants coming from all over the country and bringing their own individual flare What do you think will set you out from the rest of the finalists competing in the 2015 competition …?
Having been there last year, I know how high-pressure and tense it can feel during Nationals week for a lot of the girls. Obviously all 30+ girls are beautiful, experienced and at the top of their game – and all would make eligible, deserving winners. If I can come in and inject a little bit of silliness, humour and lighten the mood throughout the week, then I’ll be happy. Ultimately, Miss Universe Australia is about being light-hearted, friendly and relaxed and in a sea full of equally gorgeous women, it’s always personality and attitude that stands out.
What is something people might find interesting about yourself …?
I often get asked what my nationality is, with people often expecting some Mediterranean heritage, but I’m in fact, from Aboriginal decent. My mother’s side of the family hail from the Noonukal tribe of Stradbroke Island and although my family life is pretty typical of most Aussies, my mum, sister and I all identify as an Indigenous Australians.
Speaking of a person’s unique flare or style what would you say is your best style or beauty secret …?
I’m an SPF nerd! I’ve been wearing a minimum of SPF 30+ on my face, every day since I was 14 years old. I really trust this one beauty tool for the longevity of my even, plump and youthful-looking skin and don’t ever see myself going a day without protecting my delicate facial skin from UVA and UVB rays. I’ve been using Elucent Skincare for the past two years, and find their ethos and approach to skincare and sun protection really aligns with my own; hydration and protection are the keys to beautiful and healthy looking skin.
With Fitness becoming more and more a part of a person’s personal style how would you describe your fitness regime and how it relates to your life …?
I love to look and feel active, healthy and strong, but like anyone there are days that I’m more reluctant to head into the gym than others (especially now that it’s getting a lot colder.) I’m naturally very petite and thin, so most of my workouts centre around resistance and strength training to build strength and muscle tone – I see a personal trainer for heavier weights three times a week and supplement my visits to her with Pump and Pilates classes at the gym. This always yields better results for me than a highly cardio-driven regime, but everyone has a different makeup and I’m always so surprised at how one approach will work in a vastly different way for someone else. I think it’s all about finding something that you enjoy, that gets you the results you’re after – it makes it a lot easier to make a routine out of it once you’ve figured out what works for you and start seeing the pay off for your effort.
Who or what inspired you to get involved in the Miss Universe Australia Pageant …? What drew you to such a competition ….?
I’ve followed the pageant since I was a little girl (and although my mother will argue the point, read: ugly duckling!)
What I loved about it then, was that the women just seemed like the ultimate package – they were intelligent, eloquent, philanthropic, friendly, and all very beautiful but emphasised their beauty in a way that was purposeful and focused.
I’d have to say I fell in love with Miss Universe again when Olivia Culpo was crowned – here was this brunette, petite pocket rocket who I could so closely relate to, in a world that had been telling me that since I wasn’t six foot and blonde, I’d never make it in the modelling industry.
I’d really like to emulate that experience for young Australian women – I’d love to send the message as Miss Universe Australia that Aussie beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and forms and not to let anyone discourage you from following your dreams – it always seems impossible until it’s done, and we need determined young women who don’t give up, to pave the way for everyone!
Speaking of inspiration who inspires you most …?
As far as women I aspire to emulate, I really draw inspiration from my mother and grandmothers. I think as we mature and evolve as young women we really start to recognise and appreciate how much our mothers have done for us, all the while dealing with and battling all the life struggles, and tough compromises we now face as women finding our way in the world.
My mother, and her mother (my Nanny) have always been examples of women who seem to “do it all” for themselves, their families and their wider communities while both juggling all the commitments of full-time work.
Another special inspiration for me, comes from my Grandad – who unfortunately, at the moment is struggling with his own health battles. He’s always inspired me with his positive and humorous attitude to everything (often asking when I was younger if I could teach him to swim with five buckets in the backyard) and has been my number one fan throughout my modelling career, carrying a “brag book” of my achievements whenever he visits his friends at their local. Although he can’t make it to Melbourne, and my mother and Nanny are also staying behind in Queensland in his aid, I’m really hoping to do him proud with one last addition to his “brag book” by way of winning Miss Universe Australia this year.
The Miss Universe Pageant has a long history of associating 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 to advance …?
I’ve grown very passionate about raising awareness to the issue of Violence against Women in Australia. Thankfully, I’ve never personally experienced domestic violence, but the statistics surrounding the issue not only worldwide, but for my fellow women here in Australia, are harrowing.
One in three Australian women will experience physical violence at the hand of a partner, and one in five Australian women will be the victim of sexual violence.
I’d like to be able to use my platform to raise awareness to this issue; educate everyday Australians as to what they’re able to do in their own lives and in a wider community context to help lower these statistics, and perhaps reach the victims of these crimes with a message as to how they’re able to seek support.
If you’re reading this and are a victim of these terrible injustices, please consider utilising services such as 1800RESPECT in order to seek the support you deserve.
What is something you hope to bring out of the Miss Universe Australia Pageant …?
A crown!? No.. I’ve really learnt to look at competitive environments and my involvement in them in a new light. To me, there are always two victories in a competition – one is obviously the title or the win that everyone sees as the ultimate end goal, but I think there is also another win to be had if you pay attention along the way. The self-development and overcoming of all the obstacles that you face throughout the process to me is the real competition. With that in mind, I’ve tired to consciously handle every twist and turn this year with grace, a positive attitude and inner-strength, really using the experience as an opportunity to evolve as a woman.
The takeaway from that, or the “after” if you will, is so valuable to me, that the crown almost feels like a bonus.
It’s ultimately why I came back for a second year, and why if I’m not successful in taking out the title this year, I’d hope to return again in 2016.
Now the Quick 5
1. What is something you find yourself always saying …?
Oops! .. I’m Okay!” or “Where’d this bruise come from?” – after falling/tripping/ or running into an otherwise stationary and fixed object. I’m the clumsiest person you will EVER meet!
2. Your Favourite place in the world to wind down and relax …?
Anywhere there’s water – the ocean, pool, even the shower. There’s something about being around water that just soothes me and clears my head. Even when I was younger, my “naughty corner” was the shower and Mum would run one for me when I was naughty, and wouldn’t come get me again until I’d started singing – that was the signal that calm had returned.
3. What song would you say is your personal anthem or theme song …?
Bigger than my body” – John Mayer. My favourite lyric is “someday I’ll fly, someday I’ll soar, someday I’ll be something much more, because I’m bigger than my body gives me credit for.” As one of the shorter girls in the competition, this is something I find cheekily relatable.
4. If you could give yourself one piece of advice 5 years ago what would it be …? Bullies don’t go away when high-school ends but you get to determine how you’ll handle and grow from the rejection of others..
There are always going to be people in this world that want to tell you what (to them) you’re worth and what you deserve to do/be/believe in. You just can’t let anyone, other than yourself, define who you are or determine your worth. Don’t let anyone, ever, tell you that you don’t deserve to follow and achieve your dreams. Even if it seems like the most difficult or daunting thing to do, you have to be brave with your life, not settling for the path of least resistance – that’s the only way you can stay true to yourself in a world that aims to make you smaller, and it’s the only possible way to stand up to bullies.
5. And Finally five things you can’t live without …?
Fresh juice, coffee, a relatable lyric, SPF 30+ and my best friend (who’s been an incredible source of support and guidance throughout this year’s competition.