We’re excited it’s that time of the year again when we get to introduce you to the contestants of Miss Universe Australia. We’re kicking off our eighth year of finalist interviews with Tyra McNeill from Victoria, one of the twenty-eight talented, and inspiring contestants from all walks of life who are vying for the title of Miss Universe Australia 2019.
So Tyra, why don’t you tell us about yourself?
My name is Tyra McNeill, I’m 20 years old currently studying my diploma in strength and conditioning to have a meaningful career as I complete my Bachelor of International Development, where I can work in developing countries creating strategies to better people’s lives. I am extremely passionate about helping others and have volunteered for many local causes since completing high school. In my spare time catch me on the Ice rink, eating reese’s pieces or accidentally killing my indoor plants.
What would you say was your motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia?
I know it sounds cliché, but to be able to empower people to make a difference in their lives. Throughout high school, my school ‘Star of the Sea College,’ taught us all about giving back to the people who need it most. We worked a lot with the Anzac retirement village program, Sacred Heart Mission Soup Kitchen and Edmund Rice Food Van. Through this, we met people from different walks of life. I found this quite rewarding and so, after high school I continued volunteering for local causes. I soon realised by doing small things, we can make a difference. I would ideally like to be able to appeal to a greater audience. Therefore, resulting in a more significant change.
The program is certainly full of amazing experiences in the lead-up to finals, You’ve just returned from the National Finalist Trip to Bali staying at the sensational Alila Hotels. How was this experience?
Alila was breathtaking! They were easily the nicest and most luxurious resorts I’ve ever stayed at. The entire experience was different from anything I’ve ever done before. The best part of the bali trip was definitely the girls and the crew. It was wonderful having the chance to meet everyone, make new friends and really get to know everyone before finals. It was kind of like a massive girls trip in a way!
The Bali Trip is a combination of finals boot camp, personal development and team bonding exercise with a tropical escape thrown in for good measure, what would you say are some of the best things you’ll take away from the trip?
Listen to your body: There were days in Bali where I would wake up and instantly feel ready to go, those days I got up and went to the gym. There were also days were I was exhausted and needed a good sleep in, so I did that. Listening to what your body needs in terms of rest, food and alone time is so important, especially in an environment when your constantly on the go.
2. Get off your phone/ be in the moment: It’s always hard to stay off your phone because there’s so many amazing things to take photos of, snapchat and instagram. You’ll regret staring at your phone the entire trip, but you wont regret the amazing conversations and memories you made.
2. Be open minded: Everyone has different opinions and I think we should all be open to listening to each other’s thoughts and respecting them whether we agree with what they’re saying or not. All the girls on the trip were extremely intelligent and I loved listening to the conversations around the pool.
So now you’re home and, winter has set in and the finals are only just around the corner, how are you feeling in the leadup to Melbourne and what sort of preparation are you doing before finals week?
In all honesty, I’m just trying to stay healthy and in a good mindset in preparation for the finals. I try to workout regularly because it makes me feel good, but I’m also not being too hard on myself. It’s about trying to find the perfect balance. I’ve taken a lot of time to write down my thoughts, values, issues I am passionate about, my goals and motivation. I think a lot of Miss Universe preparation is about organising your thoughts.
With so many of you all bringing an individual flair to the competition, what do you think sets you apart from the other contestants?
All of the girls are so different in their own ways. I think what sets me apart from the group is my ability to relate and communicate with people from different walks of life. I’ve worked and volunteered in many different industries. I find people feel comfortable and warm to me easily. , I think that’s an important characteristic to have.
Your next question comes from Simon Ross of Minespec Parts If you were lucky enough to receive the Minespec Parts Grant of $20,000 to put towards your education or business startup, what would you spend it on and why?
I have always loved fitness and I am currently studying for my Diploma of Strength and conditioning. If I was lucky enough to receive the generous grant donated on behalf of Mindspec Parts I would start my own studio. This wouldn’t be just any studio, I would like to create a community for people. At the studio, you will be able to take part in many different classes from Yoga to Boxing to Personal Training. I would like to be able to give back to the community and work with an organisation that assists those struggling. Making a program for people to apply to where they could attend a few selected classes a week. These classes will help people to feel good about themselves by giving them motivation and drive. It will build a sense of community as they meet people that have been through similar situations. The classes are something that they can look forward to. I have learnt that in difficult times, a sense of community is everything.
What is something people might find interesting about yourself?
From the ages of 11 to 17 I was heavily involved in the Figure skating community. When I was 14 my coach suggested I try Ice Dancing. I then met my Ice Dancing Partner, Beau. We then went on to travel to South Korea, skate at the Disney on Ice Pre Show, Win 2 State titles and compete and Nationals twice placing 3rd and 4th. It was a massive part of my life for those years and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to learn such a unique skill that taught me so much discipline, focus and relisiance.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you or someone you know recently?
I am extremely clumsy. One day my friends and I decided we were going to go to an event. I had ordered this cute little black dress that I had wanted to wear for ages. I put it on, did my hair and makeup and left to go to the event. It wasn’t until later when we were taking photos that my friend realised I had ripped a massive hole right on the butt cheek of my dress. I spent the rest of the day strategically carrying my handbag over my bum so people couldn’t see the hole!
As a child, what did you think would be awesome about being an adult, but isn’t as awesome as you thought it would be?
When I was younger my Mum made us make a little scrapbook about ourselves. One of the questions was “What do you want to be when you grow up?’ 4 year old me responded with “ I would like to be an Ironing lady.” Now at 20 years old, you will never see me iron my clothes unless it is completely necessary.
What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
A piece of advice I’d give to my younger self is to always be true to your unique self. Life is an adventure, follow your dreams and see where they take you. Embrace your passions, your uniqueness, it will help you shape a happy and fulfilled life and most importantly, never lose your spark.
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.