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Miss Universe Australia – Finalist interview Eleea Navarro of QLD

Congratulations on making it so far in the coveted Miss Universe Australia competition. Tell us a little about yourself:

Thank you! I feel very lucky to be a part of Miss Universe Australia this year. I grew up on a farm in Mullumbimby, NSW, just outside of Byron Bay. During school, I loved studying and being a part of any extracurricular activities I could be involved in, and I moved to the Gold Coast after graduating in 2011. I’ve always been very passionate about the performing arts and am a singer-songwriter and also play piano, guitar and act. I’m extremely close with my family, but also have the travel bug and can’t wait to set off on my next adventure. I am a bit of a perfectionist and love being independent, organised and busy doing great things, like this competition!

Who inspires you most?
I’m lucky to not have to search very far for inspiration, as I’ve always had many strong, smart and successful people surrounding me in my personal life. My biggest influence is my Mum, who unconditionally supports my talents and encourages me to be a better person every day.

What do you do for a living?

I’m studying a Bachelor of Communications full-time via correspondence and am double majoring in Marketing and PR. I am also a self-managed singer-songwriter and perform regularly around the country (as a solo act and as part of a duo), as well as currently being in the process of recording my second album. I also act (theatre and screen) and do promotional work casually.

Speaking of work, where is your favourite place to kick up your heals after a hard day of work?

I’m a bit of a Grandma! I don’t drink and rarely party, however I LOVE food! The Gold Coast is a great place to live for that reason, with my favourites being Boonchu Thai, Due Amici Pizza, Cardamon Pod, JFX Japanese, Double Zero Pizza, and I can’t wait to try Na Brasa all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ, but I’m trying to resist until after the Miss Universe National Finals…
And how would you say your work, if at all, has prepared you for the Miss Universe Australia Competition?

Thanks to years of performing, I’m lucky that I don’t suffer with nerves or being in front of a crowd. I also used to train in heels when I sang, so I feel pretty confident that I can make it down the runway in one piece! Additionally, I’ve modelled before for the promotional material for my music and in my music videos, so that was a great basis for this competition. I’m definitely raw and very natural, but I feel that all of my experiences to date (combined with a lot of luck!) have helped me get this far.

And what does your ideal day of rest and relaxation entail? Including your favourite chill out music?

If I’m being very idyllic, there is nothing more relaxing than a massage! However at home, having grown up without TV, I prefer simple things, like reading a good book or playing or writing music. I also really like being on the farm I grew up on in Mullumbimby, spending time with my family and animals, being surrounded by nature and being able to sing at the top of my lungs with nobody there to hear me. There’s a real freedom and privacy in the country that’s very special. As far as relaxing music, I love women with unique voices and deeper tones, with some of my favourites being Tracy Chapman, Nina Simone, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt and Missy Higgins.

What is something people might find interesting about yourself? 

  • I used to be a contortionist.
  • I released my first full-length album at 17.
  • I am short sighted.
  • I love traveling alone.
  • I’ve written over 300 songs.

How would you describe your personal style?

I, like most girls, have way too many clothes… I usually wear very classic basics, with  most of my wardrobe being black, white and grey. Then I add interest with statement accessories, outerwear and shoes.

I have never been very drawn to buying from normal retail stores and love scouring markets and vintage and secondhand shops for treasures. The best thing about op-shops is that you’re also donating to a charity organisation, while finding unique pieces. In fact, every single piece in every outfit I’ve worn in the preliminary and state finals for Miss Universe Australia were all secondhand finds!!!

Talking of style who is your favourite designer or brand?

I love to fantasise about Balmain, Carla Zampatti and Victoria Beckham. On a more budget friendly level, I really like Jeffrey Campbell shoes, Novo shoes and local Gold Coast brand ‘Lokoa’ for leather goods. As I said though, I love secondhand shopping and for that reason, I’ve become less focused on the brand name and more appreciative of the quality of the actual item of clothing.

And what does your beauty & fitness regime consist of? (ie your best tips and tricks)

Admittedly, I have a very natural and laid-back approach to beauty and fitness. Growing up on a farm, I’ve always preferred fun outdoor activity over working out in a gym. I enjoy exercise the most when I’ve achieved something, such as reaching the top of a mountain or cycling to a certain place. Out of habit and preference, I do eat very well but I also never deprive myself of anything. I really believe that health should be a full-time lifestyle, and that’s what I try to embody, rather than the fads of different workouts and diets.

Again with beauty, I’m definitely not high maintenance! I’ve been extremely lucky with my skin, and I try to wash my face everyday and wear minimal or no makeup (and when I do, I use mostly mineral or organic products). I also always stay out of the sun or cover up well. I think a good exfoliation for your face and body can make a great difference and an oil treatment for your hair can also work wonders (especially if your hair is thick and crazy like mine). My personal preference towards beauty is the natural route, so I don’t colour my hair, wear extensions, get spray tans or enhance anything artificially. I definitely don’t take for granted that I’ve been fortunate, but my body also mirrors the way I treat it every day.

Where do you see the Miss Universe Journey taking you? 

Honestly, I chose to enter this competition to challenge and empower myself, and to hopefully meet some inspiring young woman (which I certainly have!). Having gone into this competition with no expectations, the amount of fun I’ve had and how far I’ve progressed has been a really surprising but wonderful experience!

I hope to make some great friendships and I hope that the experience and exposure from being on this journey can help my performing arts career in the future. I also would like to use this as a platform to inspire other young women who don’t think that they fit into the stereotype of a Miss Universe contestant. I’m reminded every day how important it is to be open to new opportunities and not to sell yourself short. This competition has been a beautiful reinforcement of that mentality. I am relatively short, have less modelling experience than my peers and all of my outfits were from op-shops… and I’ve become a national finalist!!!

We all have a favourite saying or personal mantra, what would you say is yours? 

When I was little and my Mum was stressed or upset, I used to always tell her that “nothing in life can ever be a problem”. As I’ve grown up, I also agree with her favourite saying “everything happens for a reason”, as I think all of your experiences shape you as a person. However, if all else fails… it just ends up being great fodder for for my songwriting!

And what are the five things in your life you just can’t live without?

My family (animals included), my mini-Maton guitar, my songbooks, my lovely boyfriend and my phone.

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