Miss Universe Australia – Finalist interview Courtney Thorpe of QLD

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Congratulations on making it so far in the coveted Miss Universe competition.. Tell us a little something about yourself?
I am a bit of a walking contradiction actually! Most people assume I am your typical girly girl, who is obsessed with shopping, clothes, shoes, makeup and dressing up. Don’t get me wrong, I am obsessed with all that! But, I also LOVE fishing and camping. I am also a huge book nerd, I will literally read anything with words, and I would cook all day if I could.

Why did you get involved in Miss Universe? What drew you to such a competition?
One of my friends suggested that I enter a few years ago. I was too nervous to actually do it at the time, but the thought was always in the back of my mind. I had quite a few not so lovely friendships and relationships, which left me feeling pretty poorly about myself. I eventually just got to a point where I was sick of letting what other people thought of me bring me down and wanted to do something to celebrate who I was.

The Miss Universe Australia competition was the perfect way to do that as it is all about being confident with who you are, including what you look like and your thoughts and opinions. It was also a pleasant surprise that throughout the competition I formed some great friendships with the other contestants, it’s nice to finally have people in my life that support me and accept me for exactly who I am, and that is all thanks to the Miss Universe Australia competition.

What do you do for work?
I am the head of the styling department at the Australian Institute of Creative Design, a Fashion Editor and a model. Until recently, I was also the Director, Event Co-ordinator and Style Director of International Fashion Week, but after adding the Miss Universe Australia National Finals to my list, I had to let something go if I wanted any chance of sleep in the next couple of weeks!
..And now for some more gritty questions!

We now live in an age where women are world leaders and trailblazers. With that in mind, how do you think miss universe, a competition based largely on looks contributes to the women’s movement?

Until 1903 women in Australia weren’t even allowed to vote, and now, thanks to the women’s movement, “Women can do anything”. I think people often correlate Miss Universe and the women’s movement with some confusion. It is often said that the Miss Universe pageant is insulting to the women’s movement which has fought to give women equal rights and a voice in society. Miss Universe Australia has given a platform to women from all around the country, from all different cultures and backgrounds, to celebrate being women, share their thoughts and opinions on various social issues, and gives them the opportunity to make significant positive impacts on society. If this isn’t reflective of the core fundamentals of what the women’s movement encourages, then I don’t know what is!

 In a time of celeb-culture where we know nearly as much about celebrities as our real-world friends, who is your favourite celeb figure and why?
My favourite celebrity is Giuliana Rancic. Other than her flawless style, she has become incredibly successful in the journalism industry, after a huge amount of perseverance, determination, and a never-give-up attitude, which is inspiring to me as it is industry which I myself am passionate about perusing. She has also been through personal turmoil, suffering from breast cancer and infertility, both issues which women around the world are faced with every day. Instead of shutting down during this time, she opened up and shared her story with the world, and gave hope to women affected by similar issues. It is humbling to see such a successful woman use her own pain to help others.

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How would you use your voice or platform purposefully if you take out the crown of Miss Universe?
I am a strong believer of loving who you are, whatever shape that may be. I wasted too many years worrying more about what other people thought of me as a person, and of how I looked, rather than thinking about who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do and how I wanted to look. If I were to be the next Miss Universe Australia, I would use that platform to encourage and support everyone, both men and women, to accept and love themselves for who they are. I have a myriad of ideas that I would love to act on to follow out that mission, some of which I am working on already, stay tuned!

There is obviously much pressure associated with being in a beauty pageant, what are your secrets to coping with the stress?
All I can say is, it’s amazing what a bubble bath and chocolate can do!

 Speaking of secrets, do you have any health and beauty secrets you would like to share with us?
Head to toe coconut oil! It leaves my hair feeling all silky, keeps my skin clear and moisturised, helps my nails, and is great for getting rid of scars. I put it on every night before bed and wake up with my skin and hair feeling amazing.

With the view that beauty pageants are all about empowering women, what do you think is the essence of being a woman?
I think the essence of being a woman is different for every woman. We are all individuals with different thoughts, interests, opinions, experiences and beliefs, and therefore would the answer would differ with every woman that you ask. I am at work on my lunch break at the moment and just asked my students what they thought the essence of being a woman was, and each and every one of them had different answers!

You can often tell a lot from someone biggest role mode/icon/legend.. Who is yours and why?
Audrey Hepburn. I think her effortless style, class and sophistication made her the perfect woman. She had such a glamorous poise and grace about her that I don’t think we see in many women today. She had respect not only for herself but for everyone around her. Her philanthropic endeavors are inspirational, and again she is a woman who suffered with her own personal issues, yet didn’t let them affect her and instead spent a large portion of her life focusing on others.