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 Kate Hedges, from Western Australia 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 Kate Hedges. I’m a 23-year-old from Western Australia with a marketing and advertising background, who created her own online clothing boutique. My store, Fashion Backroom, uses models of all sizes to promote positive body image in young women. I’m incredibly passionate about keeping fit and healthy and am a firm believer that there is beauty in everyone.
Kate Congratulations on winning a Wildcard and making it so far in the such a coveted competition, we have to ask how the overall experience has been so far?
Thank you! The wildcard opportunity was incredible. I was fortunate enough to be voted as the Miss Congeniality of the Miss West Coast leg of the Miss Universe Australia competition, so this gave me the opportunity to go with the other National finalists on the Bali trip. Doing this alone would have been more than enough! However, as fate would have it, I managed to make some incredible friendships with girls all around the country who have since voted me back into the competition as the wildcard! The overall experience, I would have to say is that for me personally, it’s been a complete rollercoaster. I wouldn’t have it any other way; it’s definitely kept me on my toes.
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?
Finals are just around the corner for Nationals. My preparation for the final in Melbourne has been intense. I’ve been smashing out boxing workouts at the best boxing gym in Perth, Hurt Locker, as well as checking in with a Personal Trainer twice a week for extra fitness and toning sessions. I’ve also paid more attention to my diet and have used food to fuel my extra exercise sessions so that I feel confident on stage. I’ve also been prepping by getting regular beauty/hair treatments, dress fittings with our incredible gown designer, Steph Audino and making sure I’m up to date with current world affairs. Oh, and I can’t forget the regular spray tans – essential for any redhead!
With so many women all bring their individual flare to the competition, what do you think will set you apart from the other contestants?
An instant distinguisher for me is my auburn hair, which draws people in. I’m lucky enough to get compliments on it regularly. What sticks for people I think, is that as Miss Congeniality, I’m renowned for being bubbly and friendly, and find I can have a meaningful conversation with absolutely anyone.
Speaking of unique flare or style what would you say is your best style or beauty secret?
I’m a sucker for a year round tan. Being a redhead, I’m destined to fake it ‘till you make it, so a coat of Bondi Sands Dark Mousse is my best style tip. As for a beauty secret, I swear by using an SPF 50+ sunscreen as my primer, every single day. Not only does it protect your skin from the sun, but also helps your makeup stay on better. My favourite is We Are Feel Good Inc in the coconut scent!
What inspired you to enter in the Miss Universe Australia pageant?
I wanted to create an opportunity for myself to be around other like-minded women. The contestants in this year’s competition are phenomenal. We truly have the best bunch of well-rounded, confident, beautiful and remarkable girls. To surround me with people like this is completely surreal. The best part is, being so close to these girls, has made them friends for life.
Speaking of inspiration who or what inspires you most?
Seeing other women succeed. Inspiration comes in all forms, but I love to see young women launch their own businesses, develop their own companies, and hear success stories of them doing it. The best part is, women aren’t afraid to speak up about the real journey it took to get them to ‘success’, as it’s not always easy.
What is something people might find interesting about yourself?
I finished my double degree in Commerce and Design at 20, and launched my own business at 22! I loved the look on people’s faces when they realised how much I’ve managed to squeeze into my short time on this earth.
What does the average day look like for you?
I’m an early riser, so my day starts with an exercise session (boxing at Hurt Locker or PT), followed by a quick Instagram scroll and post for Fashion Backroom. When I’m not managing Fashion Backroom, I’m working at the WA Institute of Sport. Depending on my work day, I’ll either manage elite athlete scholarships and travel or be running around to label showings, styling photo shoots or updating the website
Where is your favourite place in the world to wind down and relax?
Exercise is my release. I’m in my happy place when I’m working out. Second, to that, I’ve become a massive foodie, so eating at a new restaurant always makes me feel good.
What is something you find yourself saying all the time?
“You have the same twenty-four hours in the day as Beyoncé.” I use it to motivate not only myself but my friends too.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice five years ago what would it be?
You’ll never know when you’re no longer going to grace this earth, so live every single day to its full potential, Don’t be afraid to speak up for fear of looking foolish. You’re so much stronger than you know. You’ll have days where you feel lost and uninspired, but you’re the most determined and dedicated person you’ve ever met, and every single day is a new opportunity to make magic.
And finally what are the five things you couldn’t live without?
My iPhone – for Fashion Backroom updates and the interconnectedness social media brings.
My incredible parents, who are equal parts supportive and educational.