Well, Autumn is in full swing, and It’s also that time of year when the search to find Miss Universe Australia is well underway with state finalists being announced across the country.
So we thought it would be a perfect time to kick off some home state interviews with Zoe Riikonen. Congratulations on making it through to the state finals, why don’t you tell us about yourself?
Thank-you! I feel so honoured to have made it through to the state finals. I am 24 years old living in Brisbane. I currently work for Virgin Australia as a flight attendant. I have been in the industry for about four years now and previously worked internationally with Emirates Airline. I love my job, but this year I’m looking to broaden my horizons and start small steps towards building my own business in the beauty industry.
My days off consist of a gym session in the morning, followed by brunch with my girlfriends, working on my goals, hitting that beach on a sunny day or otherwise on some other adventure.
We all have motivations, Mine usually revolves around coffee but what was your key motivation for entering the MUA competition?
For me this year it was about doing something outside my comfort zone. It was about making a change and building on my self-development. I want to have a positive influence on young Australians and build their awareness on health and wellbeing.
I can only gain more confidence, more experience, and lifelong friends from being a part of this pageant. So why not!
What part of the Miss Universe Australia program are you most looking forward to?
Building life-long friendships, being able to be a role model, learning more, building on ideas, having fun and at the end of it all having that wonderful feeling of accomplishment
We are all unique so what would you say is something that makes you stand out from the other contestants?
My job has taught me to be compassionate and tolerant of others; I feel I can relate to others easily. My determination to perform to the best of my ability and overcome setbacks.
Also having been a competitive runner, I understand about commitment and sacrifices to achieve your goals.
With the state finals, less than a fortnight away, has your routine changed at all?
It sure has – I have upped my gym routine to 4-6 times a week and incorporated a few different sessions than usual. I’m really focusing on my diet to prepare food and eat well before I fly out and across the country.
What is something that you hope to bring out of the Miss Universe Australia pageant?
I hope to come out of Miss Universe Australia knowing that I have given the pageant my absolute best. I hope to build an awareness and a better understanding of mental health. Many people are experiencing mental illness daily, seeking help because they are frightened by the illness and fear the stigma and discrimination.
Reducing the stigma will encourage people to ask for help early I also hope that all in all I have inspired other young girls to work hard towards their dreams, anything is possible once you set your mind to something.
We will wrap up with a few irrelevant and random questions, now that my coffee has worn off. Name five things you can’t live without?
A Good Eyebrow Pencil
How long does it take you to scroll through Facebook before giving up?
Probably a few minutes? I don’t really spend a lot of time scrolling, rather on there for communication and checking in on friends and family in other parts of the world.
How would your closest friend describe you?
Loyal, caring and determined
When You Dance, You look like?
Hmm.. Jenna Dewan-Tatum (Nora Clark) in the Step Up movie? I do love a good dance.
Finally, and this one is important, so please pay attention… What do you think pets dream about?
It’s funny you say that. I often see my dogs twitching in their sleep and have wondered exactly that? I probably believe that they are dreaming about other dogs they’ve come across or the times when they walked *me* to the park, and we were having fun playing fetch.
So not long now until this highly anticipated event that will see 28 of QLD’s most beautiful women compete to secure a spot as a QLD National Finalist, and go on to compete in and represent QLD in the Miss Universe Australia National Final. Get Your Ticket Here