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Back in August 2011, Dear Pageant Girl interviewed Nikki Silverthorne ofKooey – the label that designed Scherri Biggs’ national Miss Universecostume and official swimsuit sponsor of the 2011 Miss Teen USA pageant.

While nothing could be announced officially back then, Dear Pageant Girlhad questioned why Kooey would limit themselves to Miss Teen USA instead of going for the big boys at Miss Universe.

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Check out highlights from the Miss Teen USA 2011 show featuring Kooey’s swimsuits.
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If you have been following us from the beginning you will remember Dear Pageant Girl alluded to this in August when we wrote:

And if anyone understands the need for high glitz and fabulousness, it’s the team at Kooey. Kooey has sponsored the Miss Universe Australia  competition since 2009 and was also the Official Swimwear Sponsor for the Miss Teen USA Pageant held a couple of months ago at the Bahamas. There are talks about working with the Miss Universe franchise in an international level so expect big things from Kooey in the next twelve months….

The cat is officially out the bag.

Kooey has been named the official swimwear sponsor and provider for the 2012 Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants.

Kooey’s sexy, flirtatious and wholesome designs had caught the eye of the Miss Universe organization and pursued the label for a couple of years, finally sealing the deal in February.

Perfect timing for the announcement, which came out the same time as the launch of the swimsuit label’s 2012 campaign. 

Kooey has had a long standing relationship with the Miss Universe Australia organization. The label had previously used the 2010 title holder as the face for the label’s 2010 campaign and this year has upped the game by using Scherri Lee Biggs – 2011 title holder and arguably the most beautiful and amicable Miss Universe Australia we have had to date.

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Shot in the Margaret River, Western Australia, this year’s collection was inspired by native Australian birds and was recently seen at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami.

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Biggs shot with Emily Cattermole (the official face of Kooey) where she plays the good girl to Emily’s darker character in a modern day twist to your classic fairytale.

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Being the jetsetting woman that she is (Perth, Miami, New York, darling) I managed to catch the elusive Silverthorne for a chat.

How did you become involved with the Miss Universe Australia organisation?

We have worked closely with the organisers of the Western Australian leg of the pageant on other projects, so when they asked us to get involved we jumped at the chance. From there it was a natural progression to sponsor the Australian pageant.

Explain to us the connection with the Miss Universe Organisation. How did you get in touch with them and at what point did you decide you wanted to be part of the process?

Originally it started out as a bit of a fun idea, then Bree Jackson – our PR rep based in New York – met with the Miss Universe Organisation about 2 years ago and from there started a great working relationship with them.

Describe the process. How long did it take?

We first started talking to Miss Universe approximately 2 years ago. We knew we weren’t ready (strategically) to handle the Miss USA, and Miss Universe competitions so we started smaller with the Miss Teen USA pageant to get our foot in the door. Then, as a result of our purchase ofWest Surfing Products mid last year, it opened up our manufacturing and distribution capabilities allowing us to be able to follow through on getting our swimwear out there after the pageants.

Note: Kooey and iconic Australian surf brand West Surfing Products recently merged under the parent company Brandwest Group. Kooey will provide the swimsuits for Miss USA and Miss Universe while West Surfing Products will be the official swimwear sponsor for Miss Teen USA 2012.

What will you be providing as part of the agreement with Miss Universe?

We will be sponsoring the swimwear section of both Miss USA and Miss Universe. We need to provide 2 sets of swimwear for each contestant for Miss Teen USA, 3 sets for each contestant at the Miss USA final and 5 sets for each contestant at the Miss Universe final. We also then provide the winner with a full wardrobe of our products after the final.

Are you able to share with us your designs and color scheme? What do you have in mind?

We are still working on these and as we need to get all of our styles/colourways approved by the Miss Universe Organisation, we cant confirm anything at the moment. However we will be providing a mix of current and future pieces for each pageant so that some of the pieces will be available in store at the time of the pageant.

What kind of research and preparations have you made for Miss USA and Miss Universe?

We are only just beginning our real preparations. Miss USA will be first out of the three pageants so we are focused on getting the swimwear approved and into production for the final. We then need to personally fit all of the contestants before they compete. It is quite a task choosing a style that will suit all of the girls. As Miss Universe still has not had a host country announced it makes it harder for us to make decisions on the colours/styles we will use as we want the swimwear to suit the country’s flavour – such as in Brazil last year – the swimwear wouldn’t have been so well received if it hadn’t been so bright! So once the host country is announced it will be full steam ahead for us!

How do you think Australians generally feel about pageants?

Australia has really embraced each Miss Australia ever since Jennifer Hawkins won Miss Universe in 2004. Generally, I think pageants do have a bad stigma attached to them due to reality TV and some media but this is more often than not in regards to very young girls who aren’t making the decision to compete by themselves.

 
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