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 Tayla Damir from Western Australia 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…?
Hi I’m Tayla Damir I was born in Perth on the 29th of November 1996. I get my Mediterranean looks from my Father who is Lebanese and my mother who is Australian. I have a younger brother who to this day pushes me to do my best, with our competitive nature playing a large roll. I’ve been very lucky and blessed with a family who loves to travel and has always supported and pushed me to do the best I can in life.
I’m currently attending the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, studying a degree in Health and Physical education Studies.
Over the Past three years I have held charity events to raise money for charities including Toy Box International, Wildlife Warriors and Make A Wish Australia. I feel strongly about raising cancer awareness as I have lost many people in my life to cancer. As a result of this I hope to work with cancer charities over the coming years.
I love fashion and work at Goldilocks Boutique, which does contribute to MY shopping addiction! From a young age I’ve always kept up with the latest fashion trends and hope to one day be involved in the fashion industry or in media, particularly with radio. I am very much a ‘people person’ and love networking. Although I am still young I have been privileged enough to travel to many different countries, which has led me to have an adventurous open-minded nature.
Although my schedule is so busy, I manage to balance university, three jobs, Miss Universe, family, friends and boxing, I also love to spend my spare time volunteering at a radio station, as well as making time for my hobbies.
I had a love for dancing and netball at a young age and this passion has led me to live a happy healthy lifestyle and I now box to keep fit and motivated.
Tayla Congratulations on making it so far in such a coveted competition! We have to ask how has the overall experience been so far …?
My journey with Miss Universe has been incredible. Being apart of the WA miss Universe Competition means the journey progresses over 6 months. Within those 6 months I have been privileged enough to grow as a person, network, learn life skills, make life long friends and learn to love myself and who I am as a person. Miss Universe has been so exciting and rewarding and something I recommend to all young women. Miss Universe Australia is an extremely respected and well-run competition and one I am incredibly proud to be apart of.
And how are you feelings in the lead up to the finals. ..?
As I am sure everyone is, am feeling nervous! But I am mostly excited to see what the future holds for me in my Miss Universe journey. I don’t look at the finals as a competition, instead an opportunity. The National final is an opportunity to show not only myself, but also everyone who I am as a person. This is also a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet likeminded, motivated girls from around the country, and hopefully make life long friends along the way.
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 …?
Everyone in the competition is special and unique in their own way and that’s what makes the competition so highly respected. It is a group of young women all showing Australia what they have that makes them special, and stand out from the rest.
I believe that my youthful flare and positive attitude can really set me apart from the competition. I have the ability to learn and adapt well to new challenges, to be adventurous and try new things and all with a positive attitude. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and strongly believe that that is where the magic happens.
I have also had the great fortune of travel in my life. I get such joy from meeting people from all around the globe and learning about their cultures. These experiences are some that have truly shaped me.
What is something people might find interesting about yourself …?
People find it interesting that I have a personality of two extremes. I am someone of a calm caring nature, who puts others first and is more than willing to help out whenever I can. At the same time I am a very energetic and adventurous person who has been sky diving twice and loves nothing more than conquering new challenges and putting my hand up for any adventure in life.
Speaking of a person’s unique flare or style what would you say is your best style or beauty secret …?
I have a love for all things fashion which doesn’t help my bank account too much. If I was to describe my unique fashion sense I would call it “Classic Chic Glamour”. This is because during the day I love a classic chic look, I am all for a skinny pair of jeans, a turtle neck/ stylish top and a cute pair of heels. I also love dressing up for any occasion and this is when my glamour side comes out. I love dressing as if the world is my runway. I am not scared of trying new styles and setting trends. I believe everyone is an individual and we should dress to our own style instead of what peers or society tell us to wear. I am all for a Hollywood glamorous look and love having my hair and makeup on point. My best beauty secret is you only look as good as what you believe you do. Everyone has their own style and some people may be scared to experiment with fashion and show others what their style is. This is why I always encourage people to experiment with their fashion sense. If you believe in your style then that shows, and I guarantee you will have people loving what you look like too. A good outfit can’t be pulled off without confidence and a smile.
A person’s style is only as good as the person wearing it! So as long as you are happy and feel beautiful then I guarantee everyone will see the beauty within as well as what’s on the outside.
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 has always been a huge part of my life even from a young age. I started dancing at the age of 3 and this became a huge passion of mine. As I grew up I was involved in netball, gymnastics, swimming and athletics. Not only did I participate in all these sports but I would also have a balanced diet. From a young age I knew what foods where good and bad. This was something I am glad I learnt young as it has only been beneficial to my fast paced lifestyle. This has also helped me maintain a healthy, happy life.
Fitness and Health is a huge part of our society and a huge part of my life. Keeping fit makes me feel good about myself and exercising is a great way to release stress or tension. Although I don’t dance anymore due to injury, I now box at Hurt Locker to keep fit. Boxing has helped me to not only stay fit but to be healthy and gain muscle and definition in my body. I feel happier and healthier and I recommend any type of fitness to all young women. Fitness can be a great escape from your daily routine and can help build your confidence. I believe fitness will always be a huge part of my life and I am thankful for that.
Who or what inspired you to get involved in the Miss Universe Australia Pageant …? From a young age my Grandma and Aunty would put their Pageant sashes on me and let me walk around the house in their heels pretending to be a Beauty Queen. I believe it was my Grandma who inspired me to get involved in the competition. Although she is no longer with us she always told me to believe in myself and that beauty comes from within and this is something my mum still helps me to believe.
I entered Miss Universe to build self-esteem and to grow as young woman with the right morals and people around me. I always watched and saw all the gorgeous young Miss Universe women on TV and aspired to be like them one day. I would love to be the role model that young woman today look up to, like I did when I was a kid.
What drew you to such a competition ….? Speaking of inspiration who inspires you most …?
I believe what drew me most to the competition was the confidence and life skills all past Miss Universe contestants gained. I look up to them all and have watched them grow into such inspirational women with incredible lives. This is something I strive to achieve.
The fact that Miss Universe is such a highly respected competition that moulds young women into role models was something that I wanted to be a part of. I hope to one day be a role model and inspiration to young women just like past Miss Universes’ have for myself.
My Biggest inspiration in life would have to be my Grandma. My Grandma was an incredible woman who led such an amazing life and always taught me to believe in myself. My grandma fought cancer for 6 years and throughout those 6 years she never gave up, she never took the easy road and she never let it stop her doing what she wanted to do. My grandma was given 4 days to live when she was in her second year of her battle. She turned those 4 days into 5 years. This showed true determination and strength to me. Her condition never got the better of her and she never stopped fighting! If I can be half as brave and determined in life as she was, I would be incredibly happy with myself.
When it comes to finding inspiration from a person in the worlds spot light I always look to Angelina Jolie. Angelina spends her time between her extensive humanitarian work and raising her family of six. Angelina has used her position in the spotlight to raise awareness for issues that are close to her heart. She has used her fame and fortune to selflessly help others. In 2013 Angelina took her fate into her own hands and had a double mastectomy and openly spoke to the world about it. I believe this is an inspirational and brave move. Angelina balances such an inspiring life and I truly look to her as a role model
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 …?
There are two social causes that are close to my heart. The first being, young children through the world being born with facial deformities. Operation Smile is a private non-profit organization that funds reconstructive surgery for children and young adults. This is an organization that I feel strongly about as I believe everyone should feel beautiful, this organization helps to provide children with this opportunity. They give children the opportunity to fix the deformities they were born with and help to make them happy and healthy.
Another social issue I would love to raise awareness about is abuse to women. I would use my Miss Universe platform to raise awareness for charities such as White Ribbon. White Ribbon is an Australian male led campaign to try end men’s violence against women. I believe by having a Miss Universe contestant raising awareness for such a world wide issue would help to bring attention to the issue and hopefully encourage more charities and change.
What is something you hope to bring out of the Miss Universe Australia Pageant …?
I have taken so much from the competition so far for which I am so grateful. I have not only made life long friends but I have also found a confidence in myself that I didn’t know I had. I hope to only build on this confidence and expand my friendships.
A pageant of this caliber is perfect for building connections that will stay with me for life and help shape me into the strong, independent and giving women I aspire to be.
I hope to have the journey of a lifetime and the opportunity to inspire other beautiful women to follow their dreams.
Now the Quick 5
1. What is something you find yourself always saying …?
“If it makes you happy then go for it”
2. Your Favourite place in the world to wind down and relax …?
A little beach shack in Perth called Yelo is my wind down spot. I always go there and get a nice fresh juice and take a step back from the world and just watch the ocean and relax
3. What song would you say is your personal anthem or theme song …?
Katy Perry Roar.
4. If you could give yourself one piece of advice 5 years ago what would it be …?
That everything that is going to happen over the next few years is for a reason and will get you to where you need to be in life. Embrace the heartache, push through the hard times and live in the moment. Everything happens for a reason! Life’s short, and it’s a crazy journey, but one you will love.
5. And Finally five things you can’t live without …?
-the ability to laugh