Today we are catching up with Vimbayi Hakutangwi of Western Australia, one of the 24 talented and inspiring women from all walks of life who are hoping to be crowned Miss Universe Australia 2023 at The Sofitel Melbourne on Collins this Friday.
So, Vimbayi why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m 19-year-old from Zimbabwe who came to Australia in 2009 as an unaccompanied minor. I have been raised by a single mother and I have a passion for dancing, surfing, netball, and anything active or involving the outdoors. Currently, I’m pursuing a physically demanding role as a Clearance Diver in the Royal Australian Navy.
We all have motivations, mine usually around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia?
I was inspired by one of my friends who undertook the program last year. I recall watching her Instagram stories and thinking what a fun and unique opportunity it presented to meet empowering women from around Perth and all over Australia. I made a promise to myself that if I happened to get based in Perth for work, I would take a chance, put myself out there and apply for the program the following year (2023).
My key motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia was the wonderful opportunity it presented to not only challenge myself by pushing yet another boundary, but also represent my country in another aspect of my life. I hope my journey empowers women to dare to have a career while still pursuing personal dreams and aspirations, in the scheme of making a positive impact.
As part of the program, you recently went on the National Finalist Trip to Vietnam at Furama Resort Da Nang, what was the experience like?
The National Finalist Trip to Vietnam at Furama Resort Da Nang was absolutely amazing! It was an unforgettable experience filled with adventure, cultural immersion, and unforgettable memories. From exploring the stunning landscapes to indulging in delicious Vietnamese cuisine, every moment was truly special. It was also wonderful to bond with the other finalists over many meals, beach volleyball, yoga, and during the NIDA and walking workshops. Overall, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience in which I got to create lifelong friendships and memories that I will cherish forever.
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
There were quite a few highlights of the trip, the key three being visiting the Danang Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (DAVA). It allowed us to witness the incredible work they do in supporting and integrating Agent Orange victims into society. It was a humbling and eye-opening experience that emphasised the importance of raising awareness and advocating for change.
Meeting the Singapore finalists was definitely another highlight of our trip! It’s such a rare opportunity for two countries to come together during the preliminary stages of Miss Universe. Building international friendships was a lovely experience and it felt so empowering.
The personal swim shoots were without a doubt also a highlight. It was bewildering how a special moment like that, surrounded by an encouraging team, can make you feel your most beautiful self.
With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the program, what is something that sets you apart from the other finalists?
I believe being the first Miss Universe Australia finalist with a background in the Navy is what sets me apart from the other finalists. As a proud member of the Navy, I have had the opportunity to make a difference by advocating for change in military legislation to adopt a policy that is cognisant of traditional hairstyles worn by women of colour and their unique significance to their culture. It has been a wonderful journey to be a part of shaping policies that promote equality and inclusivity within the armed forces.
If you could ask our current Miss Universe Australia, Monique Riley, one question, what would it be and why?
Monique, if you had the opportunity as Miss Universe Australia to collaborate with a global organization or charity, which one would you choose and why?
I’m curious to know which pressing global issue you would be most passionate about raising awareness for. As Miss Universe Australia, you have such an incredible platform to make a meaningful difference in the world. I’d love to hear which organization or cause speaks to you on a personal level and why you’d be excited to lend your voice to support their work. Your dedication and compassion have the power to truly inspire positive change.
Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?
I have a passion for fashion and self-expression. I love using clothing as a form of art to express my personality and creativity. Fashion allows me to showcase my unique style and make a statement without saying a word. It’s a powerful tool that empowers me to be confident and embrace my individuality. Whether it’s experimenting with different trends or creating my own looks, fashion is my way of telling the world who I am and what I stand for.
To finish up the interview we have a few quick questions
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Italy has always fascinated me with its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture. The idea of living in a country that values art, food, and family greatly appeals to me. I would love to immerse myself in the Italian way of life, exploring the picturesque countryside, indulging in authentic cuisine, and learning the language. Italy’s beauty, passion, and zest for life make it an ideal place for me to live and experience an exciting new chapter.
What’s your ideal way to spend a day off?
My ideal day off would begin with a morning run, appreciating nature’s beauty. I’d meet friends locally for a leisurely brunch to catch up. In the afternoon, it’s off to the beach to surf, then relax on the sand reading a good book. To wrap up, I’d head to my regular hip-hop dance class, expressing myself fully and having a blast. It’s all about embracing my passions, staying active outdoors, and cherishing quality time with loved ones.
What makes you laugh out loud?
I laugh out loud whenever I do or say something silly, funny jokes, hilarious memes, and crazy moments with friends. Laughter is contagious and it’s always great to find joy and humour in everyday life!