Today we are catching up with Sabrina Uhlmann of South Australia, one of the 29 talented and inspiring women from all walks of life who are hoping to be crowned Miss Universe Australia 2021.
So Sabrina , why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I am 22 years old and have had the privilege to live in the traditional country of the Yirrganydji people, the Wurundjeri people, and the Kaurna people.
I was born and raised in Far North Queensland on the beautiful Atherton Tablelands, making me a tropics baby at heart. I moved with my family to Melbourne, where I obtained my first bachelor’s degree in Psychological Science and helped establish my families hospitality business. Very recently, I moved to South Australia to pursue my academic endeavours. I am now undertaking my second bachelor’s degree in Criminology.
I am an avid learner and love immersing myself in the university context.
We all have motivations, mine usually revolving around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering the Miss Universe Australia competition?
I entered Miss Universe Australia on a complete whim, to be honest.
At the time, I was in the process of moving interstate. One of my underlying motivators was to use the program to network and connect with a range of diverse people. I did not have many connections in South Australia, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet like-minded women. I also saw the program as a great opportunity for self-development. Often, it’s the environments or situations you least expect, or you feel you least belong in, that provide you with the richest learning opportunities. Accordingly, the program has taught me more about myself than any other endeavour. It has challenged me in numerous ways, and those challenges have allowed room for personal growth. Something I am extremely grateful for.
Also, I was leaving my family café so, my motivations included leaving really good coffee behind.
As part of the program, you recently spent some time up in our hometown of the Gold Coast with the Village Roadshow team; what was the experience like?
We did spend some time with the Village Roadshow team on the Gold Coast. We were extremely fortunate to have had that experience, as many of our home states went back into covid-19 restrictions upon our return.
Regardless though, we were truly spoilt by the Village Roadshow team. We attended the Outback Spectacular even had early access to Movie World one morning. Then, we headed out to Paradise country and learnt about a few of our unique native animals.
We also stayed at SeaWorld and had a fantastic introduction by Dr Claire Madden, who talked us through SeaWorld’s ethos and their current conservation efforts. I really enjoyed hearing what she had to say about SeaWorld’s current practice. She did a great job acknowledging the negative connotations SeaWorld has historically obtained. But promoted open conversations and was a passionate advocate for conservation, a true wealth of information.
It was such a wonderful experience, and given this year’s turbulent nature, it was wonderful to head back to my home state and revisit locations I hadn’t been to since I was a child. It was the perfect balance between reliving old memories and redefining the new.
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
Honestly, meeting and spending quality time with all the other incredible women, especially at the dinners. We had such tight schedules and early starts that by the time dinner came around, it was so nice just to unwind and debrief; at these moments, we got to get to know one another, and I loved that side of things.
It’s not often you go through an experience like this, so the highlight was sharing it with the ladies and then being able to reflect on it together. You form really meaningful relationships.
If you win the title of Miss Universe Australia, you will receive the prestigious Minespec Parts Education and Business grant worth $20,000; what would you do with the grant and why?
I’ll be honest I grappled with my response to this. A lot of ideas and an incredible sum of money. I did decide to use it towards furthering my education. I would use the grant for future research within the criminology discipline. I have completed a bachelor’s degree in Psychological Science, and I am now undertaking my second bachelor’s degree in Criminology.
My reasoning behind WHY research? I think it’s important for everybody, but also young women, in particular, to be inspired by the prospect of becoming future researchers. It’s the incredible ability to influence both individual and society’s knowledge, and in turn, contribute to public discourse. It’s a significant way to make an impact.
I personally get overwhelmed by the pressures of constant advocacy. I want women to feel like they don’t always have to be the loudest person in the room. It is SO important to advocate, but it’s also equally important to be a part of the behind-the-scenes publishing literature that allows others to find their voice. I think contributing to societies greater understanding of social issues through research is such a powerful tool and something I hope women are inspired by.
With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the competition, what is something that sets you apart from the other contestants?
Aside from being the only woman with a fringe and fairly visible tattoo’s, I think my individual flair would be my level of self-assurance. I think I am quite comfortable in how I present and who I am. I believe I have presented a consistent version of myself throughout this program, and by doing that, both my appearance and persona have allowed me to bring a unique perspective.
The last eighteen months certainly have been challenging for all of us; what would you say has been something you’ve gained or learned from the whole experience?
They have certainly been challenging, but I have gained an awful lot from the whole experience. Although the origins of this program are often simplified to superficial, the Miss Universe Australia program has allowed me to align where I seek purpose and where I hope to create constructive change. Removing the glitz and glamour and the social media posts that aim to showcase some of our wonderful local Australian brands, the program forces you to reflect on your interactions with the world and the way you seek to make a meaningful impact. It’s a really interesting self-reflection process.
What is the first thing you hope to do as soon as restrictions are lifted?
We are so lucky here in South Australia. We have fairly minimal restrictions in place. However, like many of us who have family interstate, abstinence from loved ones and their milestones have been challenging. So, the first thing I’d love to do is visit and spend quality time with family and friends. It is the simple pleasures of good company, food, and wine for me.
Final Five Questions
Favourite Place to Travel To?
I travelled around the Balkans or Eastern Europe in 2019 and would love to go back. Albania was one of my most favourite countries, alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina. So, either one of those nations.
The highlight of the last year?
Moving interstate with my partner, and it all running smoothly. Like many others, Covid-19 disrupted our interstate move countless times, so finally, crossing the border between Victoria and South Australia was a monumental relief. Establishing ourselves in Adelaide was a huge highlight and an important milestone.
What is something people may find interesting about yourself?
I spend eighty per cent of my time in the kitchen. I absolutely LOVE cooking and was raised in a household where food comes above and beyond all. Cooking for me is my therapy; I love the sense of community that comes with food. It has the beautiful ability to both sustain life and brings lives together.
Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?
I am very much passionate about the functioning and role of our criminal justice system. In particular, perpetrators of crime and their rehabilitative outcomes. I have always been fascinated by the way our society represents and categorises individuals with a criminal history. Social issues like crime vary in complexity, but I do hope to demystify a lot of inaccurate representations that permeate within society.
I spend my spare time volunteering with an organisation that operates under the restorative justice framework. I absolutely love the work I do there; it has given me an incredible insight into the inner workings of our justice system. It’s also allowed me to witness first-hand the inequities present within our system, making my academic endeavours all the more worthwhile.
I deeply value the education I’ve received, and with it, hope to amplify the voices of those most vulnerable.
One piece of advice you have for us all?
Conformity does not equate to inner self peace, and that conformity is also not a shortcoming. We shouldn’t focus on proving our impact and instead live and behave in a way that we know will make an impact. Always listen before choosing to speak.
Thank you to
Minespec Parts are proud to be partnering with 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.