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Dear Pageant Girl,

I remember the day we first laid eyes on Renae Ayris.  A force to be reckoned with, we had no doubt that she was a strong contender for the Miss Universe Australia crown and was the girl to beat. So much so that it was an easy decision to make her our first ever stunner alert.

It seems to me that we have a knack for setting the tone of the competition as our Stunner Alert first ladies seem to always end up with the crown!

Tall, blonde, tanned and lovely, the girl from Western Australia captivated the nation, won the crown and is now starting to attract the attention of the global pageant world.

And so here it is – a DPG exclusive, the woman herself up close and personal as she has a one on one chat with me at DPG Headquarters.

You were a hot favourite to win the crown.  In fact, you were Dear Pageant Girl’s first official DPG Stunner Alert.  Jessica Kahawaty was our first official Stunner Alert for Miss World Australia.  And you both won! Do you think we’re psychic?

Haha, I think you definitely know what you are talking about 😉

What was the experience like?  How did you find the Miss Universe Australia experience?

I loved it. Being with so many lovely girls that were not only beautiful on the outside, but also on the inside. I have to admit, never being involved in the pageant world, I was expecting a bit of “bitchiness”, but was so pleasantly surprised!

Who were your biggest competitions for Miss Universe Australia? Who pleasantly surprised you?

I would have to say that I thought my biggest competitors were my WA girls, we all had so much training and were so prepared and supported by Troy and Sophia.

If you didn’t win the crown, who would you have preferred to win the title over you? And why?

Any one of the girls from WA, because we all became so close and if one of them won I would have still felt like I won, in a way. Not taking anything away from the girls from the other states of course, it is just that we became really good friends in “Team WA”.

As you know, DPG worked with your predecessor, Scherri-Lee Biggs with her preparations for Brazil.  What kind of advise has she shared with you?

Well, for a start, she has warned me that I will not be getting much sleep for 3 weeks! I am good friends with Scherri, so she might hold back on anything that might scare me too much, but she has been pretty open and filled me in on quite a lot….. “secret pageant stuff” 😉

What makes our Australian girls different from the other beauty queens in the world?

I know Australia is not really as “into” pageants as some of the other countries, and I think our typical Australian laid back personalities set us apart.

As our nation’s beauty queen du jour – how has your views changed since winning the title – or have they at all? 

My opinion of beauty pageants has not really changed. I know there will always be the critics. One thing I have learned since winning my title is that there are in fact so many supporters, which is wonderful! I come from a modeling background, which constantly has its critics as well, so I am well prepared to handle that sort of negativity J

When we first spoke to you, you mentioned that you joined the competition to help overcome your fear of public speaking.   How is that working out for you?

I cannot explain how amazed I am at how much it has helped. A couple of weekends ago I helped Sophia Barbagallo host the City of Perth registration day for Miss Universe WA and I was not the least bit nervous. I still get nervous with impromptu interviews though and being put on the spot!

As you know Dear Pageant Girl keeps close tabs on who to watch out for overseas. What research have you done on your competition?

I have to admit, I am not a very competitive person, but I will admit to you that I have “stalked” some of my competition…. They are all so beautiful!!! I have also been Youtubing a lot of previous Miss Universe events.

Who is your competition?

I have approximately 80 girls that are my competition, let’s face it, they are all beautiful. I would have to guess that perhaps the other blondes would be compared to me more closely, as there are not many in the competition.

Why do you want to be Miss Universe?

This has been the most exciting and rewarding experience, I can only imagine that filling the position of Miss Universe would be rewarding on a bigger scale. Seeing the amount of young girls that look up to this kind of position, and becoming a role model to them is such an amazing privilege. Also to be able to work with charities around the world would be so fulfilling.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your MU preparation and why?

Definitely trying to overcome the fear of public speaking, I am sure there are not many people who could not relate to this.

What are you looking forward to the most on your journey to Vegas?

I can’t wait to meet all the girls and hear their stories of their own MU journeys. I can’t think of any other opportunity that would enable me to meet people from 80 different countries, it is such an exciting prospect! Being on stage and performing is one of my great loves, so I am also looking forward to this.

What can you tell us about your national costume and evening gown?

I could tell you, but then I would have to shoot you! 😉 …. Tune into Sunrise on the 12th of November at 8.15, and all will be revealed for the national costume. As for my gown… let’s just say, it is going to be amaaaazing!

Tell us about what you would be packing for the competition.

One of the things Scherri has told me is that some of the girls take about 10 cases full of clothes and shoes. I can tell you, I wont be packing 10 cases. But I am guessing I will need at least 40 different outfits if I am there 20 days, 20 day outfits and 20 night outfits. Of course my spray tan, as it will be winter there!

What food / dish best describes Renae and why?

Oh this is a hard question. I would have to say the good old Aussie BBQ, because I am such an Aussie girl!

What makes a man sexy?

Hmmm, this question could get me into trouble DPG! I think it makes a man sexy when he is not overly confident or “cocky” and exudes an “inner handsome”.

If we could, as a collective, help you – and if we could – what would you ask Dear Pageant Girl to give you that ‘edge’ with the competition?

Does this have to be an imaginary/impossible thing? If I was lucky enough to make it to the final 5, when there are questions asked, I would want to know the 5 questions of course. Other than that, just your never failing support is encouragement enough!

Back in the golden days, the final three contestants shared one uniform question which decided who the winner would be on the night.  As the question was being asked the rest of the finalists would wait patiently in a sound proof booth.  Do you think Miss Universe should bring back this format and the soundproof booth? Why or why not? 

Funnily enough, I was actually watching a Youtube video of one of these pageants the other day. I think it is a great idea, how much fairer could it be? Plus, I have great hearing, big bonus for me, I wonder if those booths are really soundproof 😉

Donald Trump is fierce on The Apprentice.  Are you prepared to call him Boss?

It takes a lot for a person to intimidate me. I take everyone on face value, so I would not be judging them based on how they behaved in a completely different arena. I am sure Donald and I would get along just fine, or should I call him Mr. Trump?

When shopping – which is you: “More for Less” or “Less is More?”

I love a bargain!! But I do appreciate the finer things… when I can afford them!

When you and I last spoke at your first ever press conference, I asked you what you thought about transsexuals competing for Miss Universe.  Do you still think the same and hold the same views?

Yes, as I said to you, I would treat them as I treat everyone else, my view has not and will not, ever change! I truly believe that people should live their lives, as long as they are law abiding, how they choose and at the end of the day, if it doesn’t affect other people’s lives in any way, it is none of their business!

You know that the Dear Pageant Girl team will be flying together, for the first time to Vegas to support you?  This is the first time in our short history that we get to travel under the DPG banner for any of our girls.  Do you have any special requests?  Anything you want us to wear in particular?

How could I ask for any more than that! What an honour to have your support in this way! I wonder if you could get copies of my national costume made and wear them as a group! How great would that look 😉

Dear Pageant Girl has been in touch with your friends and family and I must say, they are a wild bunch and a lot of fun. I cant wait to hang with them in Vegas.  What kind of support have they provided in the lead up to the finals?

Yes, they are all a lot of fun! I could never have done this without their support. I always stand by what my mum told me from the beginning, “don’t change, and be true to yourself”.


Any messages for your DPG supporters?

I am truly touched and humbled by the support I have received. As I said earlier, I had no idea how many people were into the pageant world. I want every one of my supporters to understand that their support is sincerely appreciated! It seriously does make a difference, and is a huge motivation! Thanks DPG and see you in Vegas! xoxo