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 Madeleine Kazda from New South Wales 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 am fortunate to have been able to build a professional career in dance. I moved out of home at 16 to take up scholarship training at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, completing 10 hour days split between dance classes, high school academic classes, and dance certificate theory classes. After graduating I was offered a position with the New Zealand Contemporary School but instead took up a contract with Tokyo Disneyland to feature in their Little Mermaid show where I was Ariel in an aerial harness. Following this were multiple contracts in a dancer/aerialist role at Hong Kong Disneyland, and also training at Broadway Dance Center NYC. I then shifted focus to cruises and turned down offers from Holland America Line and Norwegian Cruise Line to work with Princess Cruises. Having now returned to Australia, I reside permanently in Sydney currently dancing as a showgirl with Sydney Showboats Dinner Cruise. I also work part-time as a model and a corporate receptionist, cheerleader for the Roosters NRL team, and study part-time online a bachelor of communication majoring in PR and Business.
Madeleine 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. ..? The experience has been unbelievable. I entered this competition on a whim and encouragement from friends and still can’t comprehend myself making it this far! I have been so lucky in past dance contracts to have amazing casts and this experience is no exception. The NSW girls are some of the sweetest and kind-hearted girls I have met, and it’s really dismissed the assumption for me that this is competition is purely about appearance. It’s made me so excited and focused for the finals, I’m extremely passionate and the realisation that this competition can be a platform to bring awareness to important issues is motivation enough for me to want to do the best I can.
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 …? My experience and my vision for a healthy mind and body. Having lived overseas in different cultures, battled the competitive road to a successful dance career, have the self-motivation to study online, work in the corporate finance industry, the achievements and rejections from modelling – I can assure you it takes a lot to break me now! I definitely think I have an advantage and the tasks and travel involved with the crown will come second nature. I also wish to promote a fit and healthy body and mind, changing the way Australia perceives a stereotypical model or pageant entrant. After years of being a dancer I’ve seen colleagues suffer with the pressures of the perfect body image and I want to use this experience to educate our younger generation.
What is something people might find interesting about yourself …?
I usually get a good response from being the little mermaid at Disneyland! The show was 20 minutes in a harness, at times sweeping me 9 metres above the audience seated below. Tokyo is still my number one recommended place to visit, it was my first time overseas at 18 and the people, culture, and technology took my breath away.
Speaking of a person’s unique flare or style what would you say is your best style or beauty secret …? I was walking into department stores at 20 years old asking for their recommended anti-aging creams. I definitely believe that prevention is key and beautiful skin just needs make up to enhance features – not cover up problems. I love that Miss Universe work with sponsors that encourage prevention and protection, Elucent Skincare pack SPF in their daily moisturisers and everyone knows that a fake tan like Mediterranean Tan is a safe tan. Judging by the shocked reaction of my younger state finalists when I mentioned I’m 25 I guess my theory works! I also always get compliments on my posture, the way you present yourself is so important with first impressions, and I think it shows a self-confidence.
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 …?
Fitness for me goes way beyond appearance. Being a dancer since the age of 8, I was working out without even realising it, a blessing and a curse as I’d much rather be on a stage than in a gym! However it’s given me a real appreciation and understanding of my body, and the influences exercise has on us mentally as well. Going through 2 years of full-time ballet whist modelling, body image was something that has played on my mind my entire adulthood, and it has only been in the past few years that I have learnt to accept and love my athletic figure. I love that the modelling industry is changing and different body types are being accepted and showcased, I want to be at the forefront of this movement in Australia and show young girls that beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes. And also that being healthy is important, physically and mentally, and as a country full of amazing healthy produce and successful sporting industries we need to show the world what we’re capable of!
Who or what inspired you to get involved in the Miss Universe Australia Pageant …? What drew you to such a competition ….?
Mostly the encouragement from friends, not knowing too much about the pageant I had no idea how big of an opportunity is was to raise awareness, use as a platform, and challenge myself. To be honest I also thought that I’d be nearing the age cut off so I applied with the mantra that I may not have the chance again and to just give it a go! I’ve gone through many personal experiences in which I think there is a need for a strong, successful, young, and independent Australian woman to be a comforting face for our younger generation. I’m passionate about promoting a healthy body image, raising awareness and educating others on anxiety, and I feel if I had an ambassador for this while I was younger it would have been extremely beneficial and reassuring.
Speaking of inspiration who inspires you most …?
My cousin and former Senator and Democrats leader Natasha Stott Despoja. At 26 years old she was youngest person ever appointed to the Australian Parliament, and became the party’s leader in 2001 and was also their longest-serving Senator. She now uses her experience and profile to work with countless charities and non-profit organisations such as BeyondBlue, Burnet Institute, Ovarian Cancer Australia, The Orangutan Project, HIV/AIDS anti-stigma campaign, just to name a few. In 2013 she was named Chair of Our Watch, and later that year Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced Natasha as Australia’s new ambassador for women and girls. She embodies everything I wish to achieve, to be an educated and active ambassador for the issues I am passionate about. She is also an inspiration for successful women in Australia, with gender equality still an issue in our country it is important to have women like Natasha motivating others, and I wish to also be part of that movement.
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 have always wanted to be more involved with charity and this pageant has definitely given me the boost and confidence I needed. Having had a personal issue with anxiety I understand the complexities and issues surrounding mental illnesses. I understand and empathise with those out there suffering in silence. I want to assure them that mental illness is not a weakness, but a strength and testament to character, and the constant internal struggle does not discriminate and it can affect anyone. Education and acceptance by others is key, and it would be an honour to be a face of awareness, comfort, and reassurance that people can overcome mental illness and reach their dreams. I am in communication with Beyond Blue regarding assisting and raising awareness to mental health issues in Australia.
What is something you hope to bring out of the Miss Universe Australia Pageant …? It has already allowed me to focus on my goals and my wish for more involvement with charity. I am already a better and more motivated person thanks to this competition. I do hope that it can assist me with establishing myself in Australia, after my contracts overseas I feel it is time for me to settle in my beloved home country and this competition is the ideal platform to secure this.
Now the Quick 5
What is something you find yourself always saying …?
That you have to do what you love. I often find myself pep talking friends whether they ask for it or not of the importance fighting for their dreams and being successful in a career they love. When you combine passion with career that’s when you bring out the best of yourself.
Your Favourite place in the world to wind down and relax …?
Even after traveling and living around the world my favourite place to relax is local. My aunty and uncle live in the country outside of Melbourne, and it is consistently my retreat when I need to focus and zen. Simple pleasures like a wood fire, farmers markets, ugg boots, and animals make me the happiest.
What song would you say is your personal anthem or theme song …?
I have to say it varies, I have a tendency to obsess over one song for a few months then move on. Past motivators have been Katy Perry – Roar during an audition tour in LA and New York, when I’m on the treadmill I love Fall Out Boy – The Phoenix (being a dancer I like to run in time with the music!).
If you could give yourself one piece of advice 5 years ago what would it be …?
When people say you need experience its true! I used to think I knew everything and could handle it all but have learnt so much from my 7 years as an adult. Being open to constructive criticism is important, and rejection happens – it’s not how hard you fall but how you pick yourself back up. Also within the dance industry I constantly see young girls at auditions with an ego and attitude and I can’t stress enough how your peers become your allies. Never burn bridges as you never know who will work with who, and networking is one of the most effective ways to gain employment.
And finally five things you can’t live without …?