As I sat on one of the white wooden seats placed under a huge, breezy tent, a mere speck amongst a sea of spectators, my eyes wandered admiringly across the catwalk, the women, and the dresses. Having never been to such an event before, I was dumbstruck by the sheer speed and excitement of it all – families, competitors, the media and spectators alike. I felt as if the room was running at a million miles an hour, and I wondered how these people could possibly keep up with such a stressful, busy livelihood. Nevertheless, as the competition continued, it hit me like a tonne of bricks – there’s more, much more, to beauty pageants, than meets the eye.
Held at the Gold Coast Turf Club, the Miss Universe entrants were judged on three different categories – swimwear, evening wear and question and answer. These trim, taut women wore incredible outfits, including evening gowns by renowned designer Lisa Brown. Besides their beauty, these women held careers of impeccable standards – I was surrounded by engineers, economists, psychologists, and dieticians, just to name a few. Some of the girls had graduated with first class honours, others studying to be doctors and dentists. I was consistently and without fault being impressed by these contestants. World class beauty and a high standing career? How is that possible? Well, this led to the question and answer category, and I can’t say I was surprised when the girls answered their questions flawlessly. It revealed so much more of Queensland’s beautiful contestants – rather than judging them purely on their bodies, makeup and fashion, it allowed everyone to see more – it revealed depth. From the American television shows in which I had naively created my pre-competition perceptions, I expected questions that related to fashion and beauty. Well… I was very, very wrong. The questions were drawn out of a glass bowl, and included topics such as feminism, domestic violence, gay parenting, homicide, and ironically, the negative opinions associated with beauty competitions.
However there can be only one winner, and, with any luck, one of our stunning Queensland girls will walk away wearing the 17 carat crown that the Miss Universe winner so deservingly wears. As one of the finalists in the first heat, Silka Kurzak said, “it’s already extremely competitive – there is definitely a lot to look forward to.”
2014 QLD STATE FINALISTS
Jamiee Lea Delaney
Photography courtesy of Mr and Mrs Smith Photography