Dear Pageant Girl,
As we prepare to hand over the crown to the new queens of 2012, we look back at 2011 and admit that indeed, it was a beautiful year. I have to say, 2011 saw Australia select its most beautiful representatives to date.
Miss Universe Australia had the gorgeous Scherri-Lee Biggs – the most beautiful Miss Universe Australia to grace the Miss Universe stage.
Miss Tourism International Australia 2011 was another stunner – the genius with the cute name – the one and only Myffy Scadden-Mchugh
And who can forget the dusky beauty that we sent to Miss Earth, the exotic Deedee Zibara
But one beauty truly stood out to Dear Pageant Girl.
This young woman exemplifies determination, grace, dignity in the face of defeat and the drive to succeed in the most noble fashion. In early 2011, a young woman competed in the Brisbane heats of the Miss Universe Australia pageant. A hot favorite, she sashayed and left quite an impression on the audience and was a hot crowd favorite.
But fortune was not on her side that fateful day and for some strange reason, she did not leave the same impression on the judges of the day.
Picking herself up, she tried her luck with the Miss World Australia competition and what Miss Universe Australia did not see, Miss World Australia embraced and nurtured.
Amber Greasley is a walking example of the adage “when a door closes, another one opens”. Today, Dear Pageant Girl spoke to the most beautiful, youthful, natural and lovable Miss World Australia we have had to date.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Amber! I’m 19 from Brisbane in Queensland. I come from a family tree FULL of diversity, with ancestry deriving from England, Ireland, Italy, Denmark and China! I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Journalism via distance education at Monash University in Melbourne.
We saw you at the 2011 Queensland Heats for Miss Universe Australia and were shocked that you were not put through to the QLD Finals. What do you think happened?
It was obviously a little disappointing to not make it past the QLD State Finals as making nationals was a big goal I had set for myself last year. I gave it my all, so I don’t think there’s anything I should have or would have done! It wasn’t meant to be for me at that time, and I still learned loads from the experience that obviously benefited my Miss World journey!
It turns out that not going through to the QLD Finals was a blessing in disguise! Was Miss World Australia always part of your plan?
It wasn’t always a part of my long term plan. My inspiration to enter Miss Universe Australia came from seeing Jesinta win the national final, as she was friends with a friend of mine from my old agency in Brisbane. I never knew you could just enter! When I enjoyed the MUA pageant as much as I did, I found out about MWA and decided it was an opportunity to have a bit more fun! Everything just fell into place from there.
Prior to joining the competition, what did you know about Miss World?
I knew it was one of the major international pageants with a charity focus that was based in England.
What kind of preparations did you go through for the competition?
Preparations for the international final was a full time job, for which I moved to Melbourne. 5 days a week at 5am I was out at Malvern doing personal training with Darren Campbell, who’d trained in the Shaolin Temple in China. I was getting cupping, chiropractic work, acupuncture and taking herbal teas from a Chinese medicine expert from East Meets West to make sure I was the best I had ever been from the inside out. I was visiting Susan Johnston for deportment training a couple of times a week, working with Belluccio for my evening gowns and practicing my national dance!
Tell us about your Miss World experience in the UK.
I had never been to the UK before, so it’s fair to say I didn’t sleep the entire flight there! I was so nervous, but the girls were the absolute highlight of the entire experience. I was one of the younger ones there, being only 18, and a lot of other girls were in their early 20s. The best part about the whole competition was the lack of bitchy competitiveness. We were all helping, encouraging and supporting each other.
What was the most interesting experience you had in London?
The most “interesting” experience would have been in Scotland. I had made it to the Top 24 for Sportswoman and we had our sports final there, where part of the competition was traditional Scottish activities like Caber Toss and the Haggis throw (Needless to say, I hadn’t prepared for that!) I also had my first Haggis eating experience in Scotland!
Out of all the girls, who made an impression on you the most?
I honestly couldn’t pick one, but there were a few! Miss New Zealand, she was constantly motivating me and inspiring me to not let my confidence slide. Miss England had the best sense of humour and was constantly making me laugh. I had a habit of picking up her accent, so I’d end up swapping parts of my outfits with her on bus trips and I’d become Miss England! Oh, and Miss Chile finally taught me how to roll my R’s!
Who do you think was your biggest competition?
Obviously Miss Venezuela, considering she took out the title. But she was so elegant, graceful and looked immaculate throughout the entire competition.
OK, dish. Dear Pageant Girl wouldn’t be Dear Pageant Girl if we didn’t share anything titillating with our readers. Do you have any inside goss / stories to share? We will allow you not to name names!
Haha- There are too many funny stories! We visited Cambridge University to visit and partake in a debate with the students about different issues, but obviously pageants in particular. The students were very honest and very blunt at times which made for great entertainment, but could also be a little insulting to what we were doing and trying to achieve. The highlight though, was when we got to have a meet and greet with students afterwards. I was with Miss New Zealand when we started chatting to a few of the male students who greeted us with their heads bowed towards the floor saying something like, “Uh, on behalf of… us… We’re sorry for the way a few of our peers… attacked you and what you’re doing… We think it’s great…” And we couldn’t stop laughing! Of course after the swimwear final about ten of us piled into each other’s room and celebrated with chocolate dessert and giggles!
OK Amber, what’s your position on plastic surgery and getting work done for a pageant? Do you think girls that do have an unfair advantage?
I’ve never had plastic surgery and Miss World Australia were clear they didn’t want me having anything done, but I think some other countries are supportive of having plastic surgery as a part of their pageant preparations. It’s just a matter of personal choice and opinion! I don’t think it puts anyone at an unfair advantage, because any of us could get it. I respected a lot of the girls for being honest about it- If they had any work done and someone asked them about it, so many were just totally honest in saying yes! I think that’s important, if you want to have work done then that’s your own decision, but you shouldn’t lie about it.
What are your thoughts on the winners?
The winners are beautiful girls who obviously worked very hard to get to the position they have. I have so much admiration for Miss Puerto Rico in particular. She gave her heart and soul to the competition and worked hard in every single aspect of the competition. Miss England also came fourth, and being one of the most down to earth, gorgeous, ‘real’ people I’ve ever had the fortune to meet, she deserves every success!
Why don’t you share with us some of the work you have done with charities for Miss World Australia.
With Miss World Australia I have worked particularly with Variety, Children First and Bikes 4 Life. Variety is the children’s charity that the organisation supported and we also were very fortunate enough to attend their AFL Grand Final function! I was lucky enough also to visit the Children First Farm prior to my going to London which was an incredibly moving experience. We also did various fundraising activities to raise funds for their organisation. Bikes4Life is a charity that aims to restore used bikes to donate to children in Uganda. The founder has in fact just returned from delivering them overseas where she is also filming a documentary called “Child Soldiers” which focuses on Joseph Kony.
What do you think Miss World Australia and ultimately Miss World is looking for?
Miss World Australia is looking for someone that epitomises the healthy, compassionate, fun loving Australian girl. They are looking for someone who is determined, friendly and willing to put in the hard work to achieve their very best! Miss World, in my opinion, is looking for someone who young girls from the international community can relate to, and can wear the Beauty with a Purpose crown with pride. It’s a job you have to do from the heart, as Ivian has said.
How about physically? Yes, Miss World raises money but surely you would agree that the judges are looking for a particular “look” to represent the organization?
I don’t think they have a particular look, I mean look at Alex (blonde and American) from last year and Ivian (Latino and brunette). Both girls have obviously been absolutely stunning and ultimately had incredible stage presence on the final night. I think the organisation wants a girl that looks healthy, poised and elegant.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to join the Miss World Australia pageant?
Prepare! Prepare, prepare, prepare! A very wise person I know 😉 once said “beauty queens are made, not born”. (Note from DPG: Oh Amber you DO love us!) Do your research! Know the values the competition stands for, watch the previous years finals and please, please know what Beauty with a Purpose means! (I’ve had so many girls email me saying they’ve applied to enter, but don’t understand what the concept is. Girls, there’s a website!) Before the competition, eat well, exercise and look healthy (that’s right, healthy and toned- not skinny!), drink plenty of water, pick a dress that shows off your personality, keep up to date on current affairs and practice public speaking!
How has this changed your life?
This experience has been a HUGE influence in shaping who I am. I’ve learnt a lot more who I want to be and who I don’t want to be. It’s had ups and downs and taught me more about life, other people and the industry than I could have learnt anywhere else. It’s allowed me to connect with some incredible people, help some fantastic charities and now, I have friends all over the world! My skin’s a lot thicker now as well.
What’s next for Amber?
Well I hand over the crown in just over a month! (Time’s flown?!) I’ll be making a move to Melbourne to chase the dream and I’ll continue my journalism studies. I have no idea what’s next at the moment, I’ll just continue to work hard and hopefully achieve my goals.
Any final words for your Dear Pageant Girl fans?
I want to send big kisses and thank yous to DPG for their support and advice during my MUA 2011 and MWA 2011 journeys! It was so motivating to be overseas and know you had people at home cheering you on. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It’s been one amazing journey. xx