Well, it’s that time of year when the search to find Miss Universe Australia is well underway with state finals kicking off across the country.
Starting off our home state interviews is Kate Van Bennekom one of the contestants who will be competing for a place in the national final held later this year in Melbourne at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Wednesday, August 31st, 2016 where the nations finalists will be competing for the title of Miss Universe Australia 2016.
Congratulations on making it so far in the coveted Miss Universe Australia competition tell us a little about yourself..?
Well, my full name is, “Kate Deborah Hildina van Bennekom,” (try fitting that on any medical form), but you can just call me Kate! I’m a QLD local, with a handful of Dutch heritage (clogs & windmills). I’m 6ft, so there’s no shelf I can’t reach! I’ve interned with MTV Australia as a digital media producer, and have volunteered in Japan, teaching English, and India, caring for homeless children.
Who or what inspired you to get involved in the Miss Universe Australia pageant?
I’ve always been driven, and been one to chase my dreams. I’m extremely passionate about health and travel, and I’m just about to complete my Bachelor of Journalism. So I believe that Miss Universe is an awesome platform to project and example of true health and beauty to young women, and could be the perfect step into a career in travel and journalism.
Speaking of inspiration what inspires you most?
People, male/female, young/old, and from every culture, discovering their own potential and putting into action…that INSPIRES me! When I was working with homeless children in India, I was inspired by a young girl training to be a beauty therapist and a young boy training to be a dentist…they had nothing, yet they knew their potential and passions, and chased their dreams.
What is something that you hope to bring out of the Miss Universe Australia pageant?
I hope to come out of Miss Universe Australia 2016 knowing I have inspired others, especially young girls and women, to persue their dreams, and a sense of content knowing I gave my all, remained loving and enjoyed the adventure.
The Miss Universe Pageant has a long history of associating with charity are there any social causes that are particularly close to your heart that you would like to use the platform of Miss Universe to advance?
YES! I’m extremely passionate about demolishing bullying against children with disabilities and special needs. I’m an ambassador for a ICANIWILL Australia, a mentoring charity that encourages senior students to team up with children with special needs for regular mentoring sessions, learning and playing games. If we can abolish bullying in the playground, we can change the next generation and provide a better future.
The rivalry between states is sure to be heightened this year why do you think Queensland is the best state to take out Miss Universe Australia?
Well if our previous track record for State of Origin is anything to go by, I think QLD will bring their A game this year for Miss Universe! I was born and raised in Queensland, and it’s encouraged me to be a nature-explorer, and beach-goer, a big-dreamer and a hardworker.
What is something you find yourself always saying …?
“Do you wanna get up early for sunrise?”
How would your closest friend describe you?
The closest gal pals would describe me as ambitious, adventurous, non-stop, extroverted, creative, with a glass-is-overflowing approach to life.
What are your top three values that you live by?
Dream big…and I do mean BIG.
Something that makes you stand out from other contestants?
Mhmm, well everybody is unique, and in no way is one better than the other. But something that makes me unique is my ability to relate to people and make them feel at ease. I’ve often been titled the “cultural chameleon” because I seem to naturally fall in sync with people no matter their age, gender or culture.
What does your current fitness regime look like in the lead up to the state finals ..?
My fitness regime is the same as it always is, I believe health and fitness is a lifestyle! I like to change it up with some resistance circuit training, kickboxing, sunrise runs where ever there’s a gorgeous view, and mucking around in the backyard with my pup (his name is Fudge).
Name five things you can’t live without?
1. Family (my mum, dad, 3 sisters and brother, aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents!)
2. God (my hope).
3. Dreams (remember dream BIG).
4. My runners (needed for those early sunrise runs).
5. Avocado…(I’m a smashed avo fiend).
What song would you say is your personal anthem or theme song and why…?
That’s a toughy….but all that comes to mind is “BEYONCE, BEYONCE, BEYONCE!” She’s a woman who’s songs are dripping with strength, confidence and spunk! I can’t refuse a dancefloor when a bit of B plays.