Dear Pageant Girl,
Queensland has long been a treasured resource for the Miss Universe Australia pageant.  Of late it has given us Rachael Finch, Jesinta Campbell and a bevy of beauties from the 90s.  This year Queensland does not disappoint with a new batch ready to reclaim its title and its next Miss Universe Australia crown.
Leading the Queensland stunners is this dusky beauty from the Gold Coast.
Stephanie Rayner, 18, Gold Coast.
Tell us about yourself.
Born in South Africa. Immigrated to New Zealand as a one year old and lived in Auckland for 10 years. At 11 years my family moved to Australia and have been living on the Gold Coast ever since. Three years ago I became an Australian citizen. I have a wonderful big family, 3 older brothers and 1 older sister including a managerie of beautiful animals. In 2007 I won the Gold Coast High School Model Search Competition and came third in Miss Teen Australia 2010, also winning Miss Photogentic.
What is your motivation in joining this competition?
Throughout my life I’ve had many mentors and have shared and gained memorable experiences with each. These individuals have helped me create my morals and values and have allowed me to become the person I am today. My motivation for taking part in this competition is to share these experiences and become a mentor towards others. I believe it’s very important to surround yourself with people who believe in you and motivate you to achieve your goals. Becoming Miss Universe Australia would allow me to motivate and encourage young adults to succeed in all aspects of life if you believe in yourself and persevere.
What do yo know about Miss Universe Australia?
I know that Miss Universe Australia has to be confident, reliable, intelligent, caring and considerate. I also know that the woman crowned with this title is going to be faced with challenging but rewarding experiences. She must be a positive ambassador determined to make a difference. These skills and qualities I believe I have and would like the opportunity to share them.
Are pageants still relevant in this day and age?
I definitely believe pageants are relevant in this day and age. Young women around the world look up to and aspire to be Miss Universe. This competition creates dreams and goals, I believe with these two key elements you can achieve success and happiness.  
Apart from the crown, what do you hope to gain from this experience?
I hope to gain unforgettable memories and strong friendships throughout this experience. I would love to be an ambassador that people can look up to for motivation and encouragement.  
Who are your role models?
My role models would have to be my family. They’re definitely people I trust and rely on. When I’m down they always encourage and motivate me to stay strong and keep going, to look for the positives instead of the negatives in every situation.
Tell me something interesting about yourself?
From the age of 11-17 I competed in tennis tournaments at state and national levels. I’m a huge wildlife supporter and have modeled for Ro Londan who is a member of HSI (Human Society International) to help protect, enhance and restore our precious global resources and wildlife.
Show Reel:
What kind of preparations have you gone through to prepare yourself for the competition?
I’ve definitely had to go through mental preparations as well as physical. The competition is tough so my mindset has been to stay confident, positive and to take one step at a time. You also have to be dedicated to eating healthy and spending quality time in the gym. I do allow myself one cheat day per week just to keep myself sane. 🙂 It’s also vitally important to keep up to date with national and international news and events, as well as having a good general knowledge of different cultures and countries.