The search to find the next Miss Universe Australia is underway, with National finalists preparing to touch down in Melbourne later this month ahead of the national finals held at the Sofitel on Collins June 29.
We are chatting with Elana Philbert, from Victoria who will be competing for the 2017 title of Miss Universe Australia,
Following in the footsteps of Jennifer Hawkins, Rachael Finch, Tegan Martin & Jesinta Campbell.
First of all the introduction, Why don’t you tell us about yourself?
My name is Elana, but all my high school friends call me Elle. I moved here from the UK 7 and a half years ago, and my dad’s side of the family is from the Caribbean’s so I’m a bit of a cultural mix haha. I’m studying to be a paramedic at the moment, and I’m very close to starting my Ambulance placement which I can’t wait for! I also recently started modelling which has been amazing. I was a bit of a tomboy growing up so I still have a big love for superheroes and video games, and I’d say I’m pretty active and adventurous. I love exploring when out for hikes, going out mountain biking and I’ve trained in kickboxing as well so keeping fit in a fun way is a big part of my life.
Elana Congratulations on making it so far in the such a coveted competition, we have to ask how the overall experience has been so far?
Thank you! It’s been an incredible experience, and if someone told me a year ago that I’d get this far into Miss Universe, I probably wouldn’t believe them. I’ve gained so much confidence in myself and public speaking that I never had before. I’ve become friends with so many remarkable girls, and I’m lucky to have had some once-in-a-lifetime moments during the competition. In all honesty, it’s been a life-changing journey.
We have just heard you returned from the Intercontinental Resort in Bali as part of the program, How was the experience and what would you say was your highlight?
The trip to Bali was amazing! The Intercontinental Resort is paradise, and everything is so beautiful over there; the people, the food, the scenery. My highlight of the trip would be a tossup between our unbelievable night at Mrs Sippy Bar and sitting around our beach campfire under the stars with ice cream and marshmallows at Sunday’s Beach Club. Both I’d do again in a heartbeat.
It’s not long now until the finals, how are you feeling in the lead-up and what sort of preparation are you doing, before the finals get underway?
I’m really pumped for the finals and excited to see who will be crowned this year! I’m still in the middle of my uni exams right now so with both of those underways I’m really trying to focus on getting a lot of sleep. I can be eating healthily and staying fit at the gym as much as I like, but without sleep I know I won’t feel the benefits so maintaining the balance of those three right now is key.
With so many women all bring their individual flare to the competition, what do you think will set you apart from the other contestants?
I’m a really genuine person, if I do say so myself. I’m not one to lie or do anything singularly for my own benefit, and I think that people around me pick up on that quite quickly. Being soft hearted and kind are a very big part of who I am, so it’s definitely a quality I want to show. It doesn’t take much effort to be kind, but it always makes a lasting impact.
Speaking of unique flare or style what would you say is your best style or beauty secret?
I wouldn’t call it a beauty secret as you can see it from a mile off, but my hair. It’s a big thing, literally, and wearing it curly in all its glory gives me so much confidence. Just embracing who you are, what you look like or in my case, what grows out your head naturally is best beauty secret there is.
What inspired you to enter in the Miss Universe Australia pageant?
Diversity is very close to my heart, and I hadn’t really seen a lot of women of colour enter Miss Universe Australia which made me really hesitant sign-up, in all honesty. But at the end of the day, someone has to put their foot forward and be the change they want to see, and that motivated me to enter and just give it my best shot. I just hope my being here inspires girls of other ethnic backgrounds to give it a shot in the years to come.
Speaking of inspiration who or what inspires you most?
The resilience of people inspires me and gives me a lot of hope for this world. Seeing how people can be exposed to traumatic events, injustices and especially in this day and age, terror and fear but still have a lust for life and a desire to make the most of what they have is incredible. Even the way in which communities remain strong together and raise each other up, as those in Manchester have after what they’ve been through, is extraordinary and inspirational to me.
What is something people might find interesting about yourself?
I’m very creative and musically inclined. Music has been a very big part of my life, even from a young age as my dad played the saxophone throughout my childhood. I’ve been playing the piano since I was 11 and there’s not a single moment in the day where I’m not singing or humming. While I still want to improve with the piano, I want to learn to play the guitar, violin and the saxophone as well so I haven’t got much hope for a quiet house in the future.
What does the average day look like for you?
I love my sleep so I probably won’t be up until 9 or 10 and I’m a big eater, meaning I’ll be snacking from the get-go. I’d catch up with my friends and boyfriend on the days were not all studying, fit in a good workout and come back home to my family. I’ll have about 5 cups of tea as well; I’m English what can I say, and relax with a good book at the end of the day.
Where is your favourite place in the world to wind down and relax?
My bed is my haven. Many impromptu naps have been taken wrapped up in my covers in the middle of the afternoon, and whether I’m watching a movie or reading a book, it always feels better being in bed to do it.
What is something you find yourself saying all the time?
I’m a huge animal lover who has been ruined by memes on the internet so calling dogs ‘pupper’, ‘doggo’ or ‘sweet angel babies’ is much more a part of my vocabulary than I’d like to admit.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice five years ago what would it be?
To stop comparing yourself to others. While it doesn’t get you anywhere, it affects your own self-confidence and is a tough habit to break. The sooner you start embracing and loving yourself for who you are, the better off you’ll be in life.
And finally what are the five things you couldn’t live without?
1. My number one is always going to be food, any and all types
2. Any of the products from Palmer’s (the original coco butter company). My skin and hair love everything they make so my routine wouldn’t even exist without them
3. My family, friends and boyfriend. They’re a massive support network and love them to bits
4. Animals, we’ve discussed this, they’re precious angels and we need to protect them
5. Sunny autumn days, my favourite kind of weather