Today we are talking with Rebecca Portugall from New South Wales on of the twenty-eight. Talented and inspiring women from all walks of life who are vying for the title of Miss Universe Australia 2020.
In what has certainly been an unpredictable and unprecedented year of ups and downs we’re thrilled to bring you our ninth year of Miss Universe Australia finalist interviews.
So Rebecca, why don’t you tell us about yourself?
I’m 24 years old and moved to Australia from Johannesburg South Africa when I was ten years old, that was quite a transition, but something I am so grateful for. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Business and majored in HR and Marketing, and have spent the last three years working as a Senior Recruitment Consultant in a specialist agency supporting roles across NSW. I am naturally a bubbly person with a “can-do” attitude! I love to enjoy the simple pleasures in life such as beach walks, baking or a relaxing afternoon of painting. I lead an active lifestyle, and I am passionate about doing things that make people feel good. I am a product of my environment, so having meaningful connections is something I pride myself on. I am also completely obsessed with pasta or anything peanut butter flavoured!
The Miss Universe Australia program has been on hold since earlier in the year and now making its way towards a virtual final to be held on October 28, What motivated you to enter the Miss Universe Australia Program?
The Miss Universe Australia program has been such a wonderful experience, despite COVID-19 and the various impacts it has had this year. It was a combination of motivations which encouraged me to enter the 2020 Program, which was supported by the timing in which it happened. I entered because it is a powerful platform to build self-confidence, empower others and create opportunities for success, It will provide an opportunity to raise awareness about topics which I feel passionately about, those being mental health, and equal access to education and employment. Lastly, it is an opportunity to represent the wonderful country we live in and something I would do with honour.
This year has been like no other, how have you been coping so far and what has been the biggest challenge and positive that has come out of it all?
It has been a very challenging and trying year, without a doubt! To this day, we are still navigating and adapting to the current circumstances, and personally, my own ability to manage these changes ebbs and flows. Overall I would say I have managed considerably well; it has made me grateful for what I have and more aware of how others might be dealing with the situation.
The biggest challenge for me has been maintaining my motivation with my current commitments. To operate remotely and be removed from family, friends and colleagues yet still endeavour to maintain positive relationships, hit KPIs and evolve into the new normality from home has been a demanding process.
Something I have learnt many valuable lessons from. However, it challenges me week to week.
In terms of a positive, the year has equipped me with a new perspective – I now look at situations, events and experiences with a more critical lens.
Instead of completing a task, or having a general conversation with someone – I now think about how I can improve it, what innovative way can I enhance it to make it more satisfying. I’ve adopted a more thoughtful way approaching my relationships, my job and my personal development. It is something I neglected before, but it has been a wonderful way of enriching my day to day life.
With everyone bringing such an individual flair to the competition, what do you think is something that will set you apart from the other contestants?
Each of us all has a set of unique qualities. I believe my work ethic is what would set me apart from the other contestants. I pride myself on being dependable, reliable, innovative and resilient. I have high standards for myself and endeavour to fully devote myself to the commitments I have made with an honest approach. It is important for me to be the best version of myself, and applying this as a potential winner for the MUA 2020 title bears a great level of importance which I would wear proudly.
The winner of Miss Universe Australia 2020 will also receive the prestigious Minespec Parts grant worth $20,000 to spend on your education or business startup, what would you do if you received this grant? And would you say your answer has changed now during the current COVID climate?
Minespec Parts has been beyond generous with this incredible grant.
I would decide to invest into my education and further it with a degree in Psychology. Human interaction and connection is a critical part of our everyday lives. Fostering a better understanding of the human mind, behaviour, emotions, and motivations will provide me with a better-developed way of enhancing my current connections and establishing new ones. It will excel my ability to practice empathy and compassion. The COVID climate hasn’t driven me to change my initial decision on what I would elect to do with the grant. I believe it has propelled it further. As we spend more time apart from each other, developing connections and networks have a greater level of importance than before.
First thing you will do when this pandemic ends?
Hug those who i haven’t been able to!
Place you will hope to travel to next?
Have you taken up a new hobby, skill or learnt a new dish during lockdown?
I absolutely have! I love being active, so I would say a new hobby of mine has been developing my at-home workouts. I cancelled all my gym memberships and avoided going to classes for safety purposes, and I ended up finding sanctuary and enjoyment in guiding my circuits and working out. It’s something that enables me to be creative, push myself beyond comfortable limits and also relieves me of any stress during the business of the day.
Minespec Parts are proud to be the presenting sponsor for Miss Universe Australia, Working to empower and support women not just through the Miss Universe Australia pageant and their $20k education and business grant, but through many platforms with various activities across Australia all furthering and supporting women in the workplace.