Congratulations to Moraya Wilson of Victoria, who was crowned Miss Universe Australia 2023 at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins earlier this month, with a great crowd in attendance for the events return to Melbourne.
We caught up with her for a quick chat in the lead up to the National Final; read her interview below.
So, Moraya why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m currently a sports coach at a secondary school across 3 disciplines; Athletics, Cross Country and Snowsports. I used to compete internationally as a ski racer and ran track and XCountry growing up, so it was an easy transition once I finished competing. In contrast to my sport, I also work as a model and have been doing so for the past five years, travelling and working around Australia. I’m finishing my last few weeks of my Bachelor of Business Marketing Degree, at RMIT University in Melbourne.
We all have motivations, mine usually around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia?
The main goal I wanted to get out of Miss Universe Australia was a great network. I knew that I’d have the opportunity to meet and work with many brands I’ve aspired to work with over the years, but not only did I want to connect with those brands, I wanted to make connections with all the like-minded girls and MUA team across Australia.
I think everyone in the group this year is so driven and motivated across so many industries, it inspires me to work hard and push myself.
As part of the program, you recently went on the National Finalist Trip to Vietnam at Furama Resort Da Nang, what was the experience like?
It was unreal! We practically fit a 1-month agenda into a week, so there was always something happening around the resort. It was so wonderful to meet and connect with the girls from other states, as that was the first time we had all been together as a group.
I feel so lucky to have had the opportunities we received throughout the trip, meeting the locals and staff, as well as the NIDA workshop, shooting with a world-class team for our swim shoots and enjoying the next-level food and entertainment Furama Resort put on for us.
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
That’s tough, but I’d have to say the swim shoot. My shoot was later in the week, so the build up and anticipation made me even more excited for it!
I was part of the ‘Spotlight’ theme which was at dusk on the beach and in the water, the atmosphere was amazing. The whole team had the best energy and I couldn’t stop smiling ear to ear the entire time. So all of that together made it so memorable for me.
With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the program, what is something that sets you apart from the other finalists?
I think every single girl in the group this year brings something very powerful and unique to our group. So I’d say my unique attribute is my sporting background; I competed for 8 years internationally as a downhill ski racer, I spent the majority of my adolescence training and racing as both a ski racer and a track athlete. I have a very athletic family, so it was always something that I was going to step into growing up. I think because it was such a considerable part of my identity for such a long time, the experience is unique to me.
If you could ask our Miss Universe Australia 2022 , Monique Riley, one question, what would it be and why?
What is something you wish you knew going into the program last year? I’d ask this because for me personally, the program so far has exceeded any expectations or idea of what I thought it would be like. So I’d love to know, from Monique’s perspective, if doing the program and then going on to win Miss Universe Australia is everything she was expecting it to be like.
Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?
Promoting sport as critical to youth development. I’m a sports coach now, and have spent the majority of my life training and competing at a high level in various disciplines. From my experience, the critical skills I developed from my racing days I have able to apply to so many areas of my life.
Self-discipline, resilience, teamwork, independence, and confidence I developed at a young age as part of being a competitive athlete. Coaching kids now, I want as many young people as possible to throw themselves into sport and get involved as it’s far more beneficial to so many aspects of your life, than just a healthy heart.
To finish up the interview we have a few quick questions
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I want to live in many countries throughout my lifetime and residing in Australia is definitely where I’ll end up, but the most meaningful place I’d want to live in would be Malta, which is where my Grandma was born. I’ve travelled there once a few years ago with my Mum, and it was just the most relaxing and inviting place I’ve ever visited.
What’s your ideal way to spend a day off?
My most ideal way to spend a day off, is ticking off my errands for the week, going to the gym, and then relaxing with my family, cooking, eating and playing cards.
What makes you laugh out loud?
Life is never boring for me and I see the funny side in everything, but in particular, my three siblings make me laugh the most. I come from a big, loud family, where there’s always something happening, so I love going to my Mums house and just being with everyone and laughing my head off to whatever stories my brothers and sister have to tell that week.