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 Tharika Rodrigo, from South 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?
I am an outgoing, friendly 18-year-old from Adelaide and I am currently studying a Bachelor of Physiotherapy. I have always wanted to pursue a career in the health field as my interests have always been in assisting the community. I’m not going to lie, I also love science and would consider myself a bit of a nerd! Studies aside, I also work two retail jobs and also do a bit of modelling on the side too. In my spare time, I enjoy going shopping because I have a love for fashion, listening to music or playing the piano. Anyone that knows me knows that I am always willing to help others and manage to stay true to myself in every situation. I also love to have a good laugh with my family and friends and try to make every moment a fun and positive one because life is so much better when everyone is happy and laughing together!
Tharika Congratulations on making it so far in the such a coveted competition, we have to ask how the overall experience has been so far?
Miss Universe Australia has been a fantastic experience thus far. Personally, it has helped me immensely, to grow as a person and cultivate some great friendships that I am sure will last even after the competition is over. The experience has also completely changed the image I had of the contest prior to joining and has really given a greater meaning to “beauty with a purpose”.
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?
Bali was the most amazing experience! It was so great getting to meet all the girls from the other states after having a cheeky stalk of them on Instagram, but I would have to say the highlight of the trip, was visiting the Bali Life Orphanage. I have volunteered and visited many different orphanages overseas before but each time is always a different experience to the last. I constantly find myself lost for words after an encounter with these beautiful children because they always seem to be so grateful and genuinely happy, something that many of us even struggle with sometimes. It really puts life into perspective and makes me realise how truly blessed I am. Experiences like these are also so important because it shows us that it doesn’t take much to make someone else happy, even just spending time with the kids brought a smile to their faces which brought one to mine!
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 am really excited for the finals, but sometimes I also get a bit overwhelmed and nervous! The finals are coming up at a very crucial time for me, as it coincides with my Uni exams. Luckily for me, I think I work best under pressure, so the lead-up has really helped me to be more organised with my time and also more focused.
I have been focusing on my health and wellbeing by hitting the gym and maintaining a healthy diet. I’ve had to be really strict with my diet lately because usually during exams, I tend to ‘stress eat’ and ‘pig out’ but there is no room for that sort of business at this point! Maintaining our appearances before finals has definitely also been made easy for us with all the amazing sponsors who have spoilt us with some lovely goodies!
I am really looking forward to showcasing the best version of myself and making good use of the incredible learning experiences I have had throughout the course of this journey.
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 think what sets me apart from the other contestants are my bold, exotic features along with my humbleness and mature outlook on life- even though I am the youngest contestant this year!
Speaking of unique flare or style what would you say is your best style or beauty secret?
My best style secret isn’t really a secret at all- it’s my smile! I think it’s my best style because when I smile, it’s simple, sweet and genuine!
What inspired you to enter in the Miss Universe Australia pageant?
Many times in the past I struggled with my confidence as I compared myself to others and tried to make sure everyone else was proud of me and neglected my own feelings. I chose to enter the pageant because I wanted to prove to myself that I didn’t need a reason to compare myself to others and because I wanted to better myself, build my confidence and grow as a person while having the opportunity to help others still; as that is what actually makes me happy
Speaking of inspiration who or what inspires you most?
I think one of my biggest inspirations would have to be Michelle Obama. She was not only the First Lady but also a woman who embodies so many great qualities. Michelle Obama is the epitome of beauty, class, grace and compassion. She served her community as best she could and was always open to helping others, regardless of the setbacks she was faced with. She is also an inspiration to me as she was the first African-American to be appointed as the First Lady which resonates with me strongly, as I too am a person of colour. She taught me to believe in myself and use my passion and drive to achieve my goals.
What is something people might find interesting about yourself?
I think one of the things that people might find interesting about me is that I used to be a cheerleader when I was younger!
What does the average day look like for you?
I wake up at 6 am, get ready for Uni and then start class around 8 am usually every day. During my breaks in-between class, I head up to the gym and try to fit in a quick workout. On days that I finish Uni early, I go to work and then head home afterwards to study, spend time with my family and then go to bed! To be honest, my days aren’t overly exciting, but I know that these long days of study and work will pay off in the long run!
Where is your favourite place in the world to wind down and relax?
I would definitely have to say the beach for this one! I find myself at the beach whenever I am stressed or just need some time for myself- even if it’s in the middle of winter! To me, the sound of the waves is so calming, and I love watching the sunsets because it always helps me to remember how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place.
What is something you find yourself saying all the time?
“No one is you, and that is your power” is something that I’ve been saying not only to myself but those around me for a while now. I think it’s so important to remember this because nowadays it is so easy to compare yourself to everyone else, especially with social media playing such a big part in our lives. It’s also something that I have constantly kept telling myself throughout this competition too, which has helped me stay positive for sure!
If you could give yourself one piece of advice five years ago what would it be?
“Your mum is probably right. It doesn’t matter if it’s about a boy, friends or taking a jacket with you when you leave the house, the bottom line is; she’s probably right!”
And finally what are the five things you couldn’t live without?
The five things I couldn’t live without are; my family and friends, my dog, music, my phone and food!