Have a read below to find out more about our Miss Universe Australia :)
|Photo from Missosology|
1. You came to Australia at a very young age, as a teenager, what did you envision your future to be like?
As a child and teenager, I couldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would become Miss Universe Australia! Education has always been really important to me, and I knew very early on that I wanted to pursue a career in Psychology so that I could have the capacity to help people, and I believe mental health has a huge impact on our overall well-being and quality of life. So as a teenager, I always saw myself becoming a psychologist in the future.
2. When did you start modelling and what prompted you to enter pageants?
I fell into modelling when I was a teenager, being approached by an agency when I was in a shopping centre, however I couldn’t dedicate much time to modelling as I was focused on finishing school, then university. When I completed my university degree in Psychology, I decided to take some time off to give my mind a rest after all those years of studying. I took up modelling and I really loved the industry. However, after about 2 years of modelling full-time I got a bit restless as I felt like I could contribute more to society than through just modelling. I thought entering the Miss Universe Australia pageant was the perfect solution as it offers young women an amazing platform to showcase their personalities and voice their thoughts and opinions on social issues they are passionate about. I am still so humbled and grateful to think that I have been given this incredible opportunity!
|Photo from @Monika_Rad Instagram|
3. Previous Miss Universe winners were able to make significant impacts to individuals and make societal changes, what are some of the issues you would like to address?
There are so many issues I feel passionately about and are worthy of being mentioned, however in today’s society one of the biggest issues is that there is so much pressure for our younger generation to succumb to the perceived ideals placed on them through social media. Whether it be beauty, friendship or popularity ideals, internalising them can lead to depression and anxiety in many vulnerable young people. Using my psychology degree coupled with the platform of being Miss Universe and experience of travelling the world modelling (as well as experiencing such pressures myself), I want to help to empower our youth to realise that they do not need to succumb to such pressured ideals. I want to spread the important message that they should instead embrace their individuality and be proud of what makes them authentically themselves.
|Photo from @Monika_Rad Instagram|
4. Do you think the pageant world is accurately portrayed in the media? What are some ups and downs you’ve experience in Miss Universe Pageant?
I believe the perception of pageants is slowly changing for the better which is very encouraging, however there is work still to be done. There is a general stereotype that pageant girls are uneducated airheads who don’t really work hard, and that’s something I am striving to disprove. From personal experience, I know that pageants are wonderful because they give opportunities for young women to be seen and heard on an empowering platform, improving their confidence and independence. They are also an effective means for the young women to campaign for the social awareness of different social issues which need attention. Pageants really offer an amazing opportunity!
5. When you are not competing or working, what are some of the things you like to do?
Spending time being active outdoors is really important for me, both for my body and soul. I love to go hiking, running and for long walks in nature; it makes me so happy! I also love to cook! I love reinventing traditional dishes to make them healthier. I make things like salmon green curry, spaghetti bolognaise with ‘zoodles' (zucchini noodles) and pizza with a cauliflower base. However, my all time favourite dish to create (and eat!!!) are my famous healthy chocolate brownies (zucchini is the secret ingredient). I also have to mention that I am a crazy cat lady! I have a kitten named Paris who I love very much, so playing and cuddling with her is the highlight of every day!
|A photo of Paris from @Monika_Rad Instagram|
6. Congrats on your engagement this year! The daily telegraph classified you as the most unique Miss Universe Australia Contestant based on your engagement, were you surprised?
Thank you! The support and well wishes I’ve received has been overwhelming! I am honoured to be considered the most unique Miss Universe Australia, because as I said before; I believe we all need to embrace and be proud of what makes us unique, so I will continue to embrace my individuality.
Thank you so much for taking time out to do this Monika.. and sharing your secret brownie ingredient!!! I would never have thought to put Zucchini in my brownies - now I will.
Most of all, I now want a cat like Paris.
I am so glad that Monika will be representing Australia, she is sweet, humble and extremely down to earth - I can't wait for Monika to bring home the crown! Don't forget to tune in for Miss Univerise 2015 on 20 December 2015.