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Dear Pageant Girl,

Does anyone remember Georgina Denahy?  This former Miss Universe Australia (1992 to be exact) became known the world over as the girl with the most beautiful eyes.

We haven’t seen another girl quite like Georgina until this Melburnian came along.

The first time myself and DPG Victoria laid eyes on this girl we were mesmerised not just by her gamine beauty but by her gaze.

This is not the first time she has competed.  She competed against Scherri Lee in 2011 and missed out on a semi final spot. Un-prepared at the time, she walked into the competition blind, solely dependent on her looks and her years as a model to help her get by. She quickly realized it takes more than just being a model to be a beauty queen.

After a two year hiatus, she’s back to give it another whirl.  And this time she means business.

We didn’t notice her in 2011 but my oh my she’s determined to make an impression this time around. And with a name like Saasha (and she quotes Ferris Bueller), how can you overlook her?

Presenting, Saasha Burns.


Tell me about yourself.

I’m a down to earth, fun-loving and hard-working Melbourne girl, and my family heritage is Dutch. When I was five years old I visited Singapore with my family, and I have loved traveling ever since. Riding elephants bareback though a river in Thailand is one of my most memorable life experiences. The welfare of animals is something that I have always been passionate about and I would love to inspire acts of kindness to all animals. I am an aspiring Art Director and have a Bachelor of Communication in Advertising from RMIT University.  This year, I was successfully accepted into Advertising Award School. I am also represented by the amazing team at Chadwick Models here in Melbourne, and have modeled in Sydney, Tokyo and Hong Kong. I love my family, my friends, going out for breakie, the country and my two cats and dogs. I feel happiest when I am at the beach and learning to surf is definitely one of my goals this year!

What made you join this competition?

I was so fortunate to be chosen to represent Victoria in the National final two years ago, and I valued the whole experience. The atmosphere during that final week was incredible and I loved meeting all the girls from each State.  As well as the friendships I made, I grew so much as a person and the whole process made me a stronger, more confident, independent and socially aware young woman. I have been following the journey of previous Miss Universe Australia winners and love how it has given them the opportunity to grow, to succeed and to help others. I hope to make my home state of Victoria proud and be a positive role model for all Australians.


What are the advantages of being beautiful?

To me, beauty is about being confident, compassionate, selfless and honest.  If you are able to embody these qualities and encourage and nurture others around you then you truly are a beautiful person, and the advantages are endless.

What gets you further in life – book smart or street smart?

They really are so different, and ideally you would want to have a combination of both. Book smart can be taught, but street smart can only be learnt through life experience. That’s why I believe it is so important to travel, to experience other cultures, to be independent, to be challenged and also be open to change.


How do you define love?

Love is universal, love brings out the best in people and love is selfless. Lana Del Ray defines it beautifully, “if someone else’s happiness is your happiness that is love.”

Tell us about the most beautiful place you have visited in Australia?

My mother’s side of my family is from a small country town in South Australia, so I was fortunate to grow up experiencing both city and country life. I spent my childhood holidays outdoors amongst some of the most beautiful Australian settings. Somewhere very close to my heart is Long Beach in Robe.  It is truly the most magical place, with clear, turquoise water and soft white sand.  It’s our tradition to get some local fish and chips and then head over to the beach, where you can drive your car onto the sand and spend the day playing beach cricket with family and friends. It’s certainly one of Australia’s best-kept secrets!


What are you doing now to prepare for Miss Universe Australia?

I am overwhelmed by the support from my family and friends in the lead up to Miss Universe Australia, and love being able to surround myself with all the positive people in my life. I enjoy reading the newspapers daily and forming an opinion on current affairs. Miss Universe Australia has opened my eyes to the wonderful work of Operation Smile, bringing hope to children with facial deformities all over the world. I hope to ‘donate a surgery’ and create awareness for the foundation. My previous ballet training and my work as a model have always motivated me to keep fit and healthy. I enjoy Pilates, swimming and exercising outdoors, and I’m proud to have just completed the run for the Mother’s Day Classic, helping to raise funds for breast cancer research.

What’s the worst pick up line you have ever heard?

No one has been really creative, just awkward! My favourite line though is “are you from Jamaica? Because you’re Ja-mai-can me crazy!” Pick up lines are so funny you can’t help but smile.


What advice will you give Australian men when dating Australian women?

I would give this advice to all men, not just Aussies, and ask them to remember to be thoughtful. Something as small as a little note will let her know you have been thinking about her, or surprising a woman with something she loves will let her know you are a great listener!

Who makes better political leaders? Men or women?

It is wonderful to be able to say that we have two women in power in Australia, both our Prime Minister and Governor-General. However I believe that it is the individual and their leadership qualities, not the gender that makes a great leader.


How are pageants different from modeling?

The first time I entered Miss Universe Australia I didn’t understand just how different pageants really are from modeling. The skills I have acquired as a model have certainly prepared me, as I feel comfortable being on stage, taking direction, being in a bikini and walking down a runway. However, in modeling you are selling a product, and in pageants you are the product.

Have you looked at the competition? Who do you think your biggest competition is?

All the girls who make it to the Australian final are beautiful and intelligent, and I wouldn’t like to underestimate anyone. Miss Universe Australia always performs so well on the world stage because we are all driven to be the best we can be.


Who is your favourite Miss Universe Australia and why?

I love both Jesinta Campbell and Scherri-Lee Biggs. They are both so gorgeous I can’t choose! I was lucky enough to meet Jesinta the first time I entered the competition when she came to talk to us about her year as Miss Universe Australia. To me she represents everything that Australia stands for, and I admire her for her charity work. She is the quintessential Aussie beach girl and is so vibrant, generous and down to earth. No wonder she won Miss Congeniality! Scherri stood out the moment I met her at the Miss Universe Australia final. She is so warm and humble and she has that ‘it’ factor that you are just drawn to. She did an incredible job representing Australia in São Paulo, Brazil. I love her design collaboration with Kooey swimwear (I wore a gorgeous blue Indigenous print bikini at the Victorian final!) They both deserve every success that comes their way!

How do you make a difference?

I try and make a positive difference even by doing something small each day. I recycle, am conscious about water saving, buy free-range products, donate clothes to charity and am a registered organ donor. I support a number of charity events each year – my favourite is certainly the Million Dollar Lunch, with all proceeds supporting kids with cancer through the Koala Foundation.

How do you want to be remembered?

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller