Susie Leigh's chance at making her dream of Miss Universe a reality

It has been an exciting time for Miss Universe National Finalist, Miss Susie Leigh over the past months. Susie, along with thousands of other hopefuls around Australia sent in her entry to compete for the crown in Miss Universe Australia 2012. After being selected for the Queensland Preliminary heats and then successfully making it through to the Queensland State Finals, Susie has found herself almost  a week away from competing in the final stage of the competition. The National Finals will be held at the Sofitel in Melbourne’s CBD on Friday 8th June, and will play host to some of Australia’s most beautiful women. We stole Susie away from her busy schedule in the lead up to the impending competition to ask her some questions. 
Before entering Miss Universe Australia 2012, what were you working towards? 
My goal is to become a flying reporter. I’ve recently graduated from a Business and Communications degree at Bond University and have started as an intern reporter at Channel 9. I am also doing my pilot licence I hope to be able to fly myself to my own stories eventually.
What preparation has gone in to preparing for the Miss Universe National Finals?
There has been a lot of preparation I have put into Miss Universe mainly with diet and exercise. I have been following a high protein low carb diet and training two hours of cardio per day. In addition it has been important to affiliate myself with current affairs and political issues across Australia to have a large general knowledge base. Mastery of the catwalk is also necessary with lots of practice needed to perfect that skill. Along-side that finding the right sponsors to assist with the evening and media sections is crucial. I am fortunate to be sponsored by Shieke fashion for my media wear and also John Cavil for the evening section. Other sponsors for the event include Kooey swimwear and Novo footwear.
What are you expecting once you land in Melbourne on 05/06/2012 for the Miss Universe National Finals 2012?
The competition stretches over four days and is broken down into swimwear, interview, and evening. There will be a lot of hard work and sweat, rehearsals, media events and meetings. But also the opportunity to meet some like-minded women and experience a once in a life time opportunity.
What has this competition taught you so far?
I think this competition is a great opportunity to build confidence by putting oneself out there and not be afraid of being judged. It’s about being happy with who you are and not being scared of the outcome either way. I think it’s taught me the importance of being proactive and making a dream a reality despite the fear involved in stepping out.
What advice would give to girls hoping to enter Miss Universe Australia 2013?
I would encourage them to make the sky the limit. Be prepared for hard work, exercise, and dedication to make it to the top. Don’t be afraid of putting your-self out there, and most of all have fun with it!
What are your plans if you do become the next Miss Universe Australia?
I am really looking forward to the possibility of working with Operation smile a charity that gives African children with facial deformities the chance to smile. I have done charity work before in Africa and am passionate about the difference this organisation can make. I would like to make the charity aspect a large focus of my reign as Miss Universe and make a positive difference around Australia.
For those who believe the typical stereotype associated with pageants what would you have to say to them?
I would have to say that point of view is relatively acceptable to the majority of educated Australians; however I believe it is a misconception and a large generalisation. A lot of the women entering the competition like myself have got degrees and have a lot to contribute to society. I would like to think that at the end of the day it is the person that ultimately determines a role not the position itself. I think in a modernising society whereby women are increasingly more educated and have more to give to society we should see a new wave of beauty queens that goes beyond the parameters of a ‘pretty face’.
Tell us, what is like back stage a pageant?
I did a lot of athletics in high-school and I would have to make the parallel of being at the marshalling of a 100m sprint. Nerves are high, intimidation tactics are in operation, and all girls are focussing on the goal. There’s a lot of training that goes in to an event like this and everyone wants to give their best performance. Despite this I’ve never left a pageant without a new friend.
Do you believe that pageants have a negative or positive impact on young women?
I think it depends on the individual and how they view themselves in relation to the competition. It is indisputably an image focussed event, and some women can take the judging personally. I think for the majority of contestants though it’s a chance to increase confidence and practice initiative. I believe these kind of competitions can greatly enhance and accelerate a women’s career if chosen, and if nothing else act as a huge confidence boost and provide an exciting experience for its contestants.
Do you think being so successful to date in Miss Universe Australia 2012 has changed who you are?
I have always been a determined and ambitious woman who has worked hard to achieve my goals and dreams. I decided at the age of 13, that one day I would compete in Miss Universe Australia and I have set my sights on doing everything I can to achieve that. I have always had strong philanthropic interests. If I am fortunate enough to reach my dream of being crowned Miss Universe Australia, I will be able to pursue these interests in an even more proactive way. I think everyone is changed in some way from their individual experiences in life, if we weren’t what would be the point! We are all ever-changing beings, that is just the nature of our makeup. I truly believe that the Miss Universe Australia will enable me to keep the attributes that makes me who I am, and allow me to grow and continue to develop into the woman I endeavor to be.
If you could spread one message to women around Australia what would it be?
Be happy with who you are and what makes you unique. Love what you do, and support each other along the journey.
I was fortunate enough to meet Susie Leigh at the Queensland Preliminary Heats in March while we were both competing. We became instant friends and over the past few months I can safely say that Susie is not only beautiful, but has high values, morals, inspiring ambition and to top it all off, is intelligent in her own right. Her captivating personality and hard work has brought her to this point in the competition and we know there is only more to come from here! Best of luck Susie, from us all, at GCMAG!

Courtney Thorpe
Courtney Thorpe

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