Today we are catching up with Tiana Meehan 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 Tiana , why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I would say a few things define me and give a great insight into who I am: I am a proud Indigenous Woman and performer. I pride myself on being honest, authentic and genuine.
I need to be if I want to have a successful career and connect with people as an artist.
I am a true creative; my life revolves around writing, dancing, acting, singing and visual arts. This has taught me valuable lessons and resilience. In addition, it has allowed me to travel, perform and connect with people all over the world. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Philanthropic work is important to me, and I am grateful to my family for instilling this in me from childhood. I was 13 when I organised and held my very first fundraiser to help a family and friend in need. Since then, I have taken it upon myself and promised myself to be involved in a number of charities each year to promote, work and help a number of different causes
We all have motivations, mine usually revolving around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering the Miss Universe Australia competition?
I believe that creating change and having a positive influence begins with oneself and accountability, and I am no different. If we can work on being the best version of ourselves with honesty, respect and vulnerability, that is when we are open to listening, really listen and learn and we can find a connection and understanding.
As I have mentioned previously, my end goal is to succeed in the entertainment industry through multiple platforms, dancing, musical theatre, acting, film/TV, or modelling. And it is an extremely difficult industry to break into.
My original motivation came from a previous Miss Universe Australia winner who years ago gave an interview saying how she was rejected time and time again. I remember my mum found this article and gave it to me, I was 16 years old. I will never forget it because for me it spoke to me at a critical time in my life where I was facing a lot of doubt and rejection, and honestly sometimes, even now as an adult, you doubt yourself, and that’s why this had such a profound impact on me because this MUA Winner talked about creating her own opportunities to make people notice her and to fight for her dreams and career. Never give up. It helped and pushed me and motivated me to fight for my job. I would also love to have the opportunity to pass on the same inspiration and guidance to all the other younger and older women like me.
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?
The trip was amazing, and I am so grateful that we were given this opportunity. It was actually my last week of freedom; within days of returning from this trip, I went into lockdown and have been in it ever since.
There were so many activities, and It was an excellent opportunity to meet other inspiring women. I loved working with our sponsors and making them proud and, of course, being able to go to all of the theme parks such as Sea World, Movie World, Outback Spectacular, Top Golf and Wet’n’Wild. It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. I felt comfortable and happy to be a part of something that means so much to many people.
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
Definitely the Penguins. During the above photoshoot for Rusty Women’s, this cheeky little guy was trying to undo my bikini top. Although I was sitting on ice in freezing conditions, it’s an experience I will never forget. Also making a special friendship with my roommate Tash, who I admire so much. She became an older sister to me. Listening and learning about all the other women’s goals, challenges and life stories. I could feel the support and encouragement we all gave each other; it was so beautiful and heartwarming.
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?
Australia has an opportunity to enrich its cultural fabric and become a happier, healthier, smarter, wealthier and more cohesive Country through the Performing Arts Industry. The Arts Industry in Australia contributes to over $111 billion a year to the economy. However, in recent years support for the sector has declined as the Govt decreased spending on the arts. If I was fortunate enough to receive the generous $20,000 Minespec Parts Education and Business grant,
I would utilise it for my education in the Performing Arts, knowing that it will serve a purpose not only for myself in developing the skills needed for my career but it will help an industry that has been devastated by the pandemic. I am here to raise positivity; I am here to show hope. I am here to promote, educate myself and others to help create a better universe. I will use my time, voice, movement, creativity, and career to educate, show empathy, share kindness, and enrich the lives of others by connecting to people. This will help me bring communities together, share messages, educate through positive creativity and inspire never to give up!
The Arts Industry is impacting and influential in creating a positive CHANGE.
With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the competition, what is something that sets you apart from the other contestants?
This is a great question because there’s so many incredible deserving women in this competition. I think that maybe what might make me a little different is that I am a little bit of everything. I am funny but sometimes not. I am quiet but sometimes loud. I am adventurous but sometimes afraid. I am organised but sometimes a mess. I get it right but sometimes get it terribly wrong.
So because of this, I am relatable & I can relate to most people, and I can adapt to most situations; maybe that’s the artist coming out in me, your constantly having to push yourself and explore and learn through other people, and this ultimately helps keep you grounded and learning about yourself and makes you become a layered, unique individual with many characteristics. I would also be the first-ever Indigenous MUA & I would be honoured to be able to represent our First Nations People.
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?
The last eighteen months have certainly been challenging for all of us. In terms of the Global Pandemic, I’ve had to learn to adapt with my career. As an artist, performing on stage and connecting with people keeps the industry alive and evolving. With that being completely taken away from us, it’s been confronting. We have had to find new ways and adapt to the circumstances, and it makes me very emotional and proud to be a part of such an immersive and hardworking industry.
I have also learnt a lot more about mental health. Not being able to perform and connect with other artists has definitely affected me in the last eighteen months. I have found myself struggling like most people. Feeling doubtful and confused and questioning myself and my career.
Not feeling good enough at times and definitely losing hope in whether things will ever go back to how they were. What I can say is that I have gained a lot of strength and perspective. I look back on the last eighteen months, and it makes me feel so strong and empowered to know that I pushed through and persevered. I can get through anything.
What is the first thing you hope to do as soon as restrictions are lifted?
It would definitely be to see all my friends and to dance with them in a room. I miss the energy we share in a classroom, learning and experiencing off one another. I can’t wait to get that feeling again.
Final Five Questions
Favourite Place to Travel To?
Without a doubt, my answer to this is New York City; I am both a city and beach girl. I call myself a water baby so take me to the beach. I am happy. However, take me to the city, I am unstoppable.
The highlight of the last year?
I am grateful for the MUA Team and having this as something to focus on in regards to being creative and representing the amazing sponsors. Being a part of the community has helped, especially working within Toy Box Australia. As I said before, Philanthropic work is important to me, so it is so fulfilling giving back to the community.
What is something people may find interesting about yourself?
I grew up in Papua New Guinea for the first few years of my life. I feel like that has really influenced me into the person I am today. I also cry hysterically in fear and freeze when I see a spider. I’m arachnophobic.
Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?
I love old classics, films such as Gone with the Wind, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Psycho or any other Alfred Hitchcock film, Singing in the Rain and many more. I could honestly go on forever. I love Etta James, Nina Simone, Irma Thomas and Billie Holiday. I also love Muddy Waters, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Otis Redding. With these artists making up most, I have quite the vintage collection of records that would make grandparents very proud.
One piece of advice you have for us all?
Never give up, work hard, hold yourself accountable. Be open to always learning. Try to understand and when you don’t, be kind. And above all else be honest and respectful to not only yourself but everyone else.
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.
Feature Photo by Jarrad Seng – @jarradseng