Stephanie Steer - Miss Universe Australia 2021 Finalist Interview
Photo by Jarrad Seng – @jarradseng

Stephanie Steer – Miss Universe Australia 2021 Finalist Interview


Today we are catching up with Stephanie Steer of New South Wales, one of the 29 talented and inspiring women from all walks of life who are hoping to be crowned Miss Universe Australia 2021.

So Stephanie, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

I would love to! I was raised in country Queensland, on dairy farms and thoroughbred studs. I’m a dedicated advocate for change in the space of women’s health and wellbeing with a specific focus on championing women in STEM industries. I’m a lover of surfing, travel and would describe myself as a techie | model | activist—a bit of a hybrid.

Professionally, I work as a Senior Website Manager, helping provide vital information to over 1 million students and 90,000 teachers across NSW. Additionally, I’m an integral member of a Women in Tech committee, working as a representative and facilitator for creating positive environments for women working within the very male-dominated technology industry.

Outside of my role, I volunteer as an ambassador for White Ribbon Australia, the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation, She’s a Crowd and was recently featured as an Inspirational Woman by Women NSW for my work in STEM.

We all have motivations, mine usually revolving around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering the Miss Universe Australia competition?

Truthfully, I initially never really thought of myself as a potential Miss Universe Australia. Growing up in a lower socio-economic environment, I didn’t see myself as the glamorous ‘pageant girl’ type. But that’s the thing, this isn’t a pageant; this is a self-development program for a very diverse group of strong, intelligent women from a vast range of backgrounds and for women like me.

This became my primary motivation to enter, to be an example of how we can grow outside of the conditions and environments we are born into. To become the leader I know I can be for women facing adversity in Australia.

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?

I absolutely loved it! I actually used to race to Movie World straight after school to have a few goes on the Scooby-Doo ride until the park closed when I was a teenager. So I was very grateful that Village Roadshow gave us the opportunity to have such a fun taste of nostalgia. Bouncing around and seeing what Village Roadshow had to offer with all the girls was such an unbelievably amazing experience.

What would you say was the highlight of your trip?

Oh my! The food. I did not realise SeaWorld resort had so many cuisine options.
I felt like I was eating my way around the world, Italian, Japanese, you name it. Can you tell I’m a massive foodie!?

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 want to break the rules with this one a little bit. I know it’s an education or business grant, but I would love to start a non-for-profit style consultation organisation offering services for working women. I currently am already offering young women free career advice and resume/selection criteria reviewing services.

But, I would love to scale this out to be a non-for-profit with multiple female mentors onboard offering free career consultation services for women. This is something I needed when I started in the workforce and is still very needed today.

Women are underrepresented in key decision-making roles across almost all industries in the Australian workforce. If we had a service like this supporting women and building confidence and skillsets. I believe we could see an increase in women taking up key management positions.

With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the competition, what is something that sets you apart from the other contestants?

Before I dive in, I want to preface my answer by stating how absolutely phenomenal this year’s cohort of Miss Universe Australia contestants really are. I do not envy the judges at all; with so many fierce women, they’re going to have their work cut out for them.

I believe my point of difference is that I walk the walk, not just talk the talk. My philanthropic resume highlights this. I’m very actively involved in my local and state communities, being a member on several different committees taking action and working towards making a difference in Australian women’s lives.

I’m industrious and dedicated in nature, and I think this sets me apart and is shown in everything I apply myself to.

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?

Personally, the pandemic has helped me find deeper meaning in my work. Having our lives being put on pause gave us the opportunity to stop and have time for self-reflection.

I’ve gained a lot of perspective about what is important during this whole experience. For example, when I found out 2020 was the worst year for domestic violence in Australia due to coronavirus restrictions, plus the combination of unemployment and financial stress linked to the pandemic, I wondered if I could be doing more to help others.

I’m now affiliated with several charities and organisations, actively working towards ending gendered violence in Australia. This is something I wasn’t doing before this 18-month period. The pandemic has helped me find my purpose: advocating for social, racial, economic, and environmental justice.

What is the first thing you hope to do as soon as restrictions are lifted?

I’m hoping to be on a plane; I don’t care where it is going. Just to be able to travel again would be such a fantastic feeling after so long.

Final Five Questions

Favourite Place to Travel To?
Uluwatu, Bali.

The highlight of the last year?
Being featured as an Inspirational Woman by Women NSW.

What is something people may find interesting about yourself?
I had to relearn how to swim at 21 years old.

Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?
Ending gendered violence is something I have lived through personally, and 1 in 6 Australian women experienced it. There is no room for this anymore and I’m determined to educate, lead and affect change in this space.

One piece of advice you have for us all?
Be the change you want to see in the world.

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.

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