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That is the promotional call for what promises to be an interesting move for the Miss Universe Australia (MUA) Organisation.

Slayed for the choice of national costume for the past few years, MUA has made the move to open the national costume design submission to the public. Details HERE

The designs will be whittled down to a top 20 as judged by individuals hand picked by the MUA and from there, a celebrity group of judges in the fashion and entertainment industries will whittle it down to a final four.

The final four designs will then be shown on the Seven Sunrise show where the public will choose the 2012 Face of Australia, Australian National Costume which will be worn by the beautiful Renae Ayris at the Miss Universe pageant (location and date yet to be confirmed).

The winner will also win a trip for two to said destination with flights and accommodation included to see their design paraded on stage.

Sound like a sensational prize?

On face value, absolutely.

But beware Dear Pageant Fan – walk into this with your eyes wide open.

The Australian public excels in many things.  Especially in slaying the national costume design.

It has become a national sport to criticize our annual creations – and the bloodbath that ensues are the proportions of which were only seen in ancient times mostly in the Roman Gladiator arena.

Ok, so maybe I’m a tad over dramatic here.

But never in our short pageant history have we had a national costume design lauded and celebrated by the public or by “industry professionals”.  Truth of the matter is, these said professionals do not possess the knowledge of what goes into the design of a national costume for the Miss Universe competition.  As a nation we do not have an established pageant culture so the majority of our designers are not aware of “the pageant brief” that the other participating nations follow and do so well.

This comes to down to the fact that we are a young nation without a “distinct” national identity / attire.  It is difficult really to have an accurate representation of the Australian culture.

The most appropriate, in my view, would be something that incorporates the Indigenous culture, but the reality is, it’s a no win situation.

For now.

So the challenge has been put on the table.

Come on Australia – put your money where your mouth is and give us something to work with.

But I strongly suggest that you do your research.

Go through the library of national costumes for the last fifty years or so and have a close look at the pomp, the color and the campness that IS the Miss Universe National Costume competition.

Remember that what we choose as a nation will be judged by the world.

And we don’t want to miss the mark, because as vocal as the Australian public is when it comes to criticizing our national costume, the international community of pageant fans (whose views really matter) are even more vicious.

The winning design MUST be event appropriate.

Do YOU have the balls to walk into the lion’s den?