Beauty, Beauty Pageants, Beauty with a Purpose, Belluccio, Ciccone Cosmetics, DEAR PAGEANT GIRL, Erin Holland, Jessica Kahawaty, Julie Sufi, Melody Carstairs, MISS WORLD, Miss World 2012, Miss World Australia, Miss World Australia 2013, Opera
Beauty, Beauty Pageants, Beauty with a Purpose, Belluccio, Ciccone Cosmetics, DEAR PAGEANT GIRL, Erin Holland, Jessica Kahawaty, Julie Sufi, Melody Carstairs, MISS WORLD, Miss World 2012, Miss World Australia, Miss World Australia 2013, Opera
Dear Pageant Girl,
I must say it’s not every day that I leave a pageant with a high.
In the many years that I have watched or been involved in a pageant, I can count the number of times in one hand where I can say I have left with a big smile on my face and a high that’s lasted for days. It’s been a while since I’ve had that feeling and the constant chasing of the dragon becomes rather tiring after a while.
I’m happy to say that the activities in the last week surrounding the Miss World Australia competition brought that feeling of excitement, positivity, hope and reason for being back again.
This is the first year that I have been involved with the Miss World Australia organisation. I couldn’t assist or watch the show last year, being at Uluru and being a not-for-profit organisation myself, a trip to the Red Centre was not as easily justified as a flight to Melbourne. When I was invited to judge at this year’s competition, I jumped at the chance.
For years we have struggled with Miss World in general. We have wanted to love the concept, embrace its Beauty with a Purpose motto and relate to its search for a holistic, well-rounded woman. It was great in the 90s. Then again, weren’t they all amazing in the 90s? But watching the “innovations” introduced in the last decade had left many of us cold and sadly the ladies who have worn the crown of Miss World Australia post 1995 had been, well, forgettable. It’s a struggle for me to name any Miss World Australias prior to 2010 to be honest.
So I’m going to come out with it. I’ve always been a Miss Universe boy.
I watched with great interest the growth of the Miss World Australia organisation for the last three years since Nadasha Zhang took over from Pauline McFetridge and I have been very impressed. It’s nice to see a newer and younger team inject a new kind of energy to what unfortunately was a dying pageant here in Australia.
When Amber Greasley was crowned in 2011, I knew that this would be the start of something truly exciting and hope for the national pageant was restored. Her top 21 finish at the international competition was a major achievement for the fledgling national pageant and Jessica Kahawaty’s third place achievement in 2012 made me realise something very important.
Miss World Australia is a sleeping giant.
And the giant is stirring.
I arrived the day before the pageant in time to watch the Belluccio Top Model Fast Track event at the Whitehouse Institute of Design. Head designer Julie Sufi, who has become a close friend over the last couple of years had no qualms taking me backstage to view her Miss World Australia 2014 range. What I saw was typical Belluccio – beautiful draping, whimsical trims and flounces, elegant silhouettes and bling. Lots of it. I was impressed at the professional way the show was handled and set. A stark white runway was the perfect setting to show off the beautiful gowns on show. And the girls didn’t disappoint, either! Sleek and minimal in their styling, they provided the perfect hangers for these masterpieces.
The mood backstage was warm and there was a genuine camaraderie amongst the girls and the backstage crew. Hair and make up provided by Ciccone Cosmetics and Hair by Ciccone who interacted with the contestants at a familiar level usually found only between friends. There were plenty of laughter and chatter and some familiar faces too.
Miss World Australia director Nadasha personally greeted me and requested that I travelled with the girls to Werribee Mansion the following day to observe and to assist the girls pre coronation event. Agreeing to do so (when the director of Miss World Australia asks you to come early to an event, you say YES!) I then retreated back to the executive suite at the Citiclub Hotel organised for me by Nadasha and I slept with a smile on my face, determined to wake up early to join the girls for breakfast and try to get some inside information and gossip, typical of many pageants. I was expecting drama, mean girl stories and sabotage.
I was set for a major disappointment on that front.
Instead, what awaited me was like a scene from a wellness camp. Smiles all around. It was a refreshing change to see the Miss World Australia directors and major sponsors join the girls for breakfast and personally greeting each one with a “good morning” and a bright smile. It’s no surprise that everyone was so positive and relaxed when the very directors themselves set the example. The girls had nothing but positive and exciting things to say about the Miss World Australia program. Each Fast Track event, designed as a framework to encourage well-roundedness in a woman encouraged mateship amongst all of the contestants and each girl truly supported the other. The spirit of competition was there, without the cattiness.
Werribee Mansion was the perfect setting for the grand final. Elegant, old world and beautiful it was Miss World true to form. As the girls got on with rehearsals I watched very closely to try and predict who would be in the top 10 (whom I would eventually be picking the winner from).
Every single contestant glowed and looked amazing as they introduced themselves in their black cocktail dresses before changing back into their Belluccio gowns for the announcement of the top 10.
Five of the ten were winners of the Fast Track events while the remaining five were the judges’ choices. Thank goodness I did not have the seemingly impossible task of whittling down 32 to 10 but immediately, having taken them away from the bevy of beauties, we noticed the stand outs.
The top ten competed in an interview round which put the girls in their paces and all did very well. The content and delivery were perfect and I knew that judging the top ten was not as easy as I thought.
The elimination of Cassie Hancock from the Top Five shocked me as I had her in my top three.
I had met Cassie a year earlier at the Miss Universe Australia competition and seeing her made my jaw drop. In twelve months she had grown from a beauty into a supermodel. We gagged when she came on stage and we gagged when she was eliminated. A great mystery but destiny had bigger plans.
Another shock of course was last year’s winner Jessica Kahawaty’s no-show to crown her successor. Her absence left a bad taste in my mouth and made me question her character. It’s definitely not a good look and gave me the impression that she had used her title and discarded it and those who helped her once she got to where she wanted to go. As Miss World it is your job to ensure that you fulfil all responsibilities and to see through the commitments and promises you make. Sadly, Jessica in my eyes did not do this nor had she done anything for the brand during her reign and DPG regrets honouring her with our first ever Miss World Australia Stunner Alert in 2012.
Dear Pageant Girls take note.
The rest is history. We all know the outcome. And quite frankly, I do believe that we have our strongest delegate yet.
A pageant neophyte, Erin Holland transformed herself to become a beauty queen and we watched with fascination her journey. We first saw her compete against Jessica Kahawaty in 2012 and doubted her chances in having a career (is there such a thing?) in pageants. Her competitive nature wanted to prove us otherwise and contacted us for some tips – determined to try her luck at the Miss Universe Australia crown.
Giving her some tips, mostly on styling, Erin took our advice on board and by May 2013 we knew she was ready.
Sadly her Miss Universe dreams would come to a crashing halt when she was abruptly left out of the selections at the State level much to everyone’s surprise. Baffled at the results we started to see cracks in the Miss Universe Australia system when we saw this year’s selections, or more importantly, those who were left out of it (Yvonne Amores, one of the top ten from this year’s Miss World Australia was also rejected by Miss Universe Australia judges).
Erin harnessed all her energy, courage and experience and called upon it to her advantage when she got on stage. Armed with a steely determination, Erin wanted that crown and knuckled down. She played hard and played fair. Her styling, interview, and speech we could not fault.
Winner of the talent competition, even her choice of song (Maybe This Time from Cabaret) added a touch of irony to her story which would eventuate to be her victory anthem. Her song brought the house down and pretty much cemented her place in the judges’s minds as the winner that night.
As she was announced, it was clear that it was one of those pageants where all girls were genuinely happy to have her take the title out over them. Erin is a woman who we know will really be a contender on all Fast Tracks internationally. She’s fit, she has talent, is intelligent, beautiful and can be a top model. She’s charming and has a great personality. Engaging and savvy she has what it takes to activate and influence people to help and to contribute to her cause. A true beauty with a purpose.
If that’s not a well rounded woman, then I don’t know what is.
Miss Universe Australia’s loss is Miss World Australia’s gain. And Australia’s gain for that matter. Our first Stunner Alert for this year we predicted that Erin would do well in the national finals.
Now watch our girl bring back home the Miss World crown.
UPDATE: 23 JULY 2013
Outgoing Miss World Australia 2012 Jessica Kahawaty sent a private message to ‘clarify’ her non-appearance at the final. Below is an excerpt from a private message sent by Jessica to myself (edited):
” Hope you’re well – someone just sent me the article you wrote about Miss World Australia 2013 which is very nice except for one part. I’m sorry I left a “bad taste in your mouth” but you don’t know the reason I didn’t attend the crowning…However, it does say a lot about my character that I am NOT publicly saying the reason. I thought out of all people in the industry, you would sense that there is a valid reason why and be puzzled instead of disgusted…”
While we appreciate the message and ‘clarification’ it was still a bad look on the night. As I wrote earlier, as Miss World it is your job to ensure that you fulfil all responsibilities and to see through the commitments and promises you make.
Part of that commitment is to crown your successor. I have worked with many beauty queens who have had the most horrendous experiences with their respective directors and organisations (reasons of which I shall not divulge as it is not in MY character to do so) yet still manage to fulfill their commitments by attending the finals, crowning the winner and making everything look perfect on the night.
Out of respect and professionalism, giving the new winner her due by crowning her is the right thing to do despite the circumstances. Whatever the reasons, the participants were denied that night your presence and sadly, was let down by the very person that most of them have regarded and held as a role model.
We wish Jessica all the best for the future.
‘No hard feelings’.
Beauty, Beauty Pageants, DEAR PAGEANT GIRL, DEBORAH MILLER, Julie Sufi, Mary Vitinaros, Matty Samaei, Miss Universe, Miss Universe Australia, Miss Universe Australia 2013, Miss Universe Australia WA, Miss Universe WA, Pageants, SAVOIR FAIRE, Tegan Martin
With thanks to our favourite luxury cosmetics brand Savoir Faire!
Amber Greasley, Beauty, Beauty Pageants, Beauty with a Purpose, Becky Lamb, Belluccio, DEAR PAGEANT GIRL, Julie Sufi, MISS WORLD, Miss World 2012, Miss World Australia, Miss World Australia 2012, Pageants, Stunner Alert
Dear Pageant Girl,
If you have been around as I have (and yes I’ve been around for a while) you start to notice some familiar faces and familiar names come up every now and again.
We have been following this lady for a little while now and she seems to be growing from strength to strength.
It’s nice to see Miss World Australia raise the bar year after year and yes, I will put it on the record that Miss World Australia sure is giving Miss Universe Australia a run for its money.
A model, pageant girl and entrepreneur, it’s nice to see someone so young and so driven in a competition like this. Placing second last year, will she take it all this year?
Let us know what YOU think.
Presenting, the gorgeous Becky Lamb.
Tell me about yourself.
I am Becky Lamb, 24 years of glorious age, currently living in Melbourne, Vic. I model full time for myself (both agency and freelance), I run an agency called ID Models Australia and I have just launched my own beauty and modelling products website, called Model Essentials (clip-in hair extensions, tanning and body products, office essentials) www.ModelEssentials.com.au. I work with Brad Jones Racing in V8 Supercars alongside my partner, Fabian, and travel often with the team, supporting him as a driver and also the event. I have an adorably cute dog (I am obsessed!) – a French Bulldog named Bronte and I live the good life. Always busy, always happy – Feeling plenty of LOVE!
What made you join this competition?
I have followed Amber Greasley (Winner, 2011) on twitter for a long time, and remember congratulating her on her win. I followed her journey over the year and felt she did a great job and was generally interested. I the saw the competition advertised and thought I might give it a go. When I saw the difference it could make to peoples lives – not just about being beautiful and looking good in a bikini – I became a lot more intent on entering. I competed in the competition last year, and placed second. So I am back with the intent of taking the title, more hungry then ever!
What makes Miss World different from other pageants?
Obviously the compassion of the Charity component. “Beauty with a Purpose” – Speaks for itself.
Define Beauty with a Purpose.
Obtaining external beauty and exhibiting internal beauty for a cause. Using one’s power for good, not evil. Selfless. In other words, being beautiful and using ‘good looks’ in order to help others less fortunate. That is the idea behind it, and a theory that works perfectly well in a charity environment.
How do you define love?
Passionate, healthy and forgiving. I am not religious, however, I think the Bible gives us a perfect definition: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Tell us about the most beautiful place you have visited in Australia?
Considering the amount of travel I do, I have been to every state and its capital, I’ve enjoyed its beaches, surf and sand, the snow and the desert, the heat of the Darwin summer and the chill of a Melbourne winter. Ive travelled from coast to coast in planes, busses and automobiles, and I don’t think there is one place I have loved more than another. Special mention to the beaches of Nelson Bay and Port Stephens (where I grew up). There is an incredible feeling about that place! As well as the dusty sunrise in Ayres Rock, the tranquil hills of Tasmania, the romance of the seaside walk in Perth and the cal of the ocean in Cairns. Our country is heaven!
What are you doing now to prepare for Miss World Australia?
I am certainly lucky – I am quite naturally fit, and I won the national Fitness competition last year, so I have been training maybe five or six days a week? I’ve been training for the Noosa marathon in August with Fabian as well, so we were already half way there which was nice! For my talent, I have chosen to sing, so I have been doing plenty of singing in the car to the radio, and just doing a lot of listening to how people speak and present themselves in interviews. Obviously public speaking has a huge impact on the final result, which you cannot 100% practice with, so there is a huge natural ability component to it. I am certainly lucky to have the V8 team and a partner who does it all the time to learn from.
What’s your favourite dish?
Well… anything home cooked! I don’t get to do enough home cooking!! I make a mean spaghetti Bolognese or Chicken Stir fry, and my favourite desert is fruit salad with melted chocolate. Mmmmmm so good!
How would you convince anti pageant fans that beauty contests are not degrading to women?
Actions speak louder than words. SHOWING people is much more effective than TELLING people! I enjoy proving people wrong and breaking the norm. You’d never know I was a fire fighter for three and a half years, would you? Don’t judge a book by its lovely cover, plenty of things to discover underneath!
What advice would you give young women who want to enter pageants?
To be themselves. There is nothing more rewarding, more liberating than being yourself. We were all made unique, so why not appreciate and enjoy it? Show the judges what makes you proud to be you. You’ll never be the best of everything, but you can always be the best you.
How are pageants different from modelling?
A pageant is a competition: there are selective elements designed to test and grade you. Modelling is a job. You work, and you get paid to sell and promote a product or service.
Have you looked at the competition? Who do you think your biggest competition is?
Briefly, I have seen the DPG images, and note many beautiful women! Experience tells me however, not to judge and not to lose confidence in the wake of intimidation of beautiful images. Confidence is key in believing in yourself. After all, it is a competition!
Who is your favourite Miss World and why?
Maybe not my most favourite, but certainly one that springs to mind for controversy! Gabriella Brum (Germany), The 1980 winner of Miss World resigned after only 18 hours of holding the title. She claims to have not had approval from her boyfriend of the time, but time revealed that she had actually shot and posed nude for a magazine, and didn’t want to be seen in a light other than supposed. She was forced to resign, and later shot for Playboy magazine in the USA. Interesting!
Why should you be chosen to be the next Miss World Australia?
In comparison to last year, I have grown so much. I am stronger, I believe in myself and I have knowledge. Why should I win now? I have the resources, the connections, the following, the determination, the experience and the maturity. I have a stroke of fierce competition, yet a grip of humility and grounding. I have life experiences, I have travelled and I have seen and learnt so much more than many of the elderly, but I also have generosity and time for my passions, and I feel I show great strength and determination to come back and vie for the title once again, after coming so close last year.
How do you want to be remembered?
As a caring, passionate, determined and fair individual. I believe there are always two sides to every story, and I prefer to ask people the truth before making judgement. I would hope that my hard work and dedication to the people and the things I love are remembered, and for being a compassionate and dedicated competitor in the competition.
Dear Pageant Girl,
I know it’s been a while but I wanted to give my thoughts a chance to sink in post Miss World.
I must say, how I feel about it today is exactly how I felt the day of the live telecast.
As you know, Dear Pageant Girl is not beholden to any one organisation and we are certainly not backward when it comes to being forward.
Maybe I should be addressing this blog to Mrs Morley.
Perhaps it was the hope and the expectation that this year would be different; that 2012 would be the year that you would turn things around and pay attention to what your audience has been begging for.
A bit of excitement.
A bit of transparency.
We are not expecting a Miss Universe rip off. Miss World is more than that. We expect tradition, yes –the kind that the English do so well. We acknowledge and appreciate the points of difference.
We LOVE the notion and idea that Miss World is looking for a complete woman. Not just a pretty face, she has to be athletic, well spoken, talented in the arts and able to demonstrate charity work to prove that her beauty and title has truly been used to better the lives of others.
We LOVE the fact that through this, Miss World can claim to be a positive role model.
We LOVE the fact that Miss World includes many countries that most of us may not have heard about, giving us a true look at the diversity of the world’s cultures.
We LOVE the preliminary fast track events. Up to that point, we could gauge who was doing well and just like the prelim scores that were displayed in Miss Universe of past years, we had an idea of who was going to make it into the semi finals. Sure, the whole social media thing was a bit questionable – a creative, though albeit obvious way for your marketing team to gather data and gauge where your audience lie, but we will let that pass.
We LOVE the cheese factor of it all – the mildly nauseating Dances of the World segment allowing certain countries to showcase their costume and talents on the global stage and the sweetly contrived tavelogues of the girls (who rides camels looking like that anyway?)
We LOVE the final song – a super corny ode to sisterhood. A week after the finals and I am still singing “LOVE…LOVE” on the train.
We LOVE the ridiculousness of Ivian’s farewell walk, her fabulous couture leaving it almost impossible to navigate the stage. Suffer for your fashion girlfriend.
We LOVED the excitement, the build up as the winner of each fast track was announced on the night and we all hoped that this year was the year you would turn it around.
But it was sadly downhill for me come finals night.
With all due respect, that was the most excruciating three hours of my life.
Your sponsors will be very happy. China got their pound of flesh and more.
Working for a tourism body myself, your production crew cannot be faulted for the beautiful and comprehensive coverage of China and Inner Mongolia, and if I my client was sponsoring your show, the return on investment cannot be questioned.
As a pageant fan, I thought it was overkill.
I suppose the British do not subscribe to the idea of “a good game is a fast game”.
When Donald Trump took over the reins of the Miss Universe Organisation in the mid 90s many doomsday squealers thought that it would be the end of an era. Mr Trump has a keen eye on what is commercially viable and he removed most of the trappings that Miss Universe was known for, modernizing it for the new generation.
Years down the track the results speak for themselves. Raking in millions in sponsorship dollars, the Miss Universe pageant is the most widely viewed pageant and is considered by the pageant community as the number one pageant in the world.
Mr Trump is all about the women.
And so are we.
You’d think that being the older pageant Miss World would have figured it out by now.
Now, don’t get me wrong about the winner. I do not want to take away from Yu Wenxia – she’s gorgeous, obviously talented and seemingly sweet.
I do not subscribe to the conspiracy theories. Even if there was a conspiracy, Wenxia had nothing to do with it.
I do love Miss Wales and you know how I feel about Jessica Kahawaty. Just as I thought we couldn’t do better than Amber Greasley, we elected the woman who many thought would bring home Australia’s third Miss World crown.
I’m disappointed that we were not given a chance to get to know more about the semi finalists.
More importantly, I am left perplexed as to how your team of judges whittled down the fifteen semi finalists to the final seven.
Who were the judges anyway and what criteria did they judge the ladies on?
Miss South Sudan had the most engaging, genuine and moving testimonies and when she opened her mouth I thought the competition was over and that she had our darling Jessica beat.
So you can imagine my surprise when the top three were announced.
Yes, I was elated to have Australia in the top three. Jessica’s performance could not be faulted. In fact, of the top three, bias aside, that crown should be on her head as Jessica had the passion, the drive and the knowledge to be Miss World 2012.
But it breaks my heart that a beautiful African woman, who in my opinion was obviously head and shoulders over Wales and China could be left out of the holy trinity.
I guess for me, I just want to know why. There seemed to be no reason for it.
No doubt that for years you have had to endure howls of frustration, disbelief and criticism from pageant fans around the world regarding the Miss World scoring system.
Sadly, you’ll need to deal with it for a little bit longer.
This year we had high hopes for you and this year we were once again disappointed.
Disappointment aside, Dear Pageant Girl will celebrate the small victories and a third place finish keeps Australia firmly on the world’s pageant radar. Well done Jessica, we love you, we are proud of you and you will always be our Miss World 2012.
I predict hordes of Australian fans to descend to Bali in 2013 to support your pageant.
Will we be once again left disappointed?
Time will tell.
Beauty, Beauty Pageants, Belluccio, COUTURE, EVENING GOWN, EVENING GOWNS, Jessica Kahawaty, Julie Sufi, MISS WORLD, Miss World 2012, Miss World Australia, Miss World Australia 2012, MONGOLIA, ORDOS, Pageants
Dear Pageant Girl,
Boy oh boy have got a treat for you!
Julie Sufi of Belluccio (the woman behind the controversial national costume for Miss World Australia) has shared with us initial images for Jessica Kahawaty’s final gown for Miss World Australia.
Big deal for us considering she was assassinated for the national costume (which to those in the know will tell you it is an AMAZING design and the best to date).
We can tell you that:
The dress is a last minute addition to the wardrobe.
We found out that two other countries had similar gowns to Jessica.
A frantic phone call ensued and Julie had to come up with a new gown at the eleventh hour after scanning what gowns were already on show at Miss World.
It was decided that Royal Purple was the way to go as noone else was wearing this shade.
The gown is made from silk chiffon with a sheer neckline, sequin, glass bead detail and a daring front split.
Julie will personally fly to Ordos, Mongolia to hand deliver the dress to Jessica before the finals on the 18th of August.
It has the seal of approval from Dear Pageant Girl. 😉
Feast your eyes on Goddess Alana – and I’m sure you will agree that she is GORGEOUS.
Belluccio, Indigenous, Indigenous costume, Jessica Kahawaty, Julie Sufi, Miss Universe, Miss Universe Australia, MISS WORLD, Miss World 2012, Miss World Australia, Miss World Australia 2012, National costume, national identity, Pageant costumes, Pageants
Dear Pageant Girl,
It’s official. I haven’t seen it rear its ugly head in a long time, but the Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS) is alive and well.
Nowhere is it more evident than during that glorious time of year – the unveiling of our National Costume.
As laid back as we claim to be, I think it’s clear that at this time of the year, us Aussies love a blood bath.
Unveiled yesterday at a morning tea function in Melbourne, our reigning Miss World 2012 will be donning a fully beaded Indigenous inspired body suit accentuated by a scarlet ‘sarong’. Julie Sufi, the brave woman who designed this outfit worked with Indigenous silk artist Eva Wanganeen.
In the last day or so (and as to be expected) we have had a melee of ‘fashionistas’ jump on the hater train to have their two cents published. Regular commentator at this time of the year, one of our favorite couturiers, Alex Perry never fails to recycle his favorite catchphrase – “very un-Australian”.
“I never knew Egyptian sea urchins were Australian? The creators of Avatar called, they want their catsuit back,” he said.
Seriously, Alex I expected more from you.
For someone who has dressed beauty queens for years, you really should know better.
I have personally met Alex a few times and he’s a real sweetheart but Dear Pageant Girl takes no prisoners and this is the time of year when our little love affair becomes a little tested.
Another designer (one who shall remain unnamed and is famously known to be one of the most hated in her season of Project Runway Australia) asks “why does our national costume always need to be so cringe-worthy?”
It is this kind of public professional assassination that stops some of our most talented designers from taking on the challenge.
Sylvia Lee, the red carpet couturier that designed Scherri Biggs’ controversial gown for the Miss Universe 2011 pageant says “I would never take on the challenge. It’s become like a sport now to criticize and make fun of the national costume of pageants.”
And she is right. It’s cool to shoot down it down.
Many reporters and commentators find it cool to bash without truly knowing the background of the Miss World or Miss Universe contests. ‘Fashion experts’ call for something more ‘Australian’. An elegant interpretation of the singlet, shorts and ugg perhaps?
I think we need a bit of education here kids, so pay attention to mama.
The national competition is the world’s first impression of the competing nation in a beauty pageant. First impressions count. While this part of the show is not officially judged and the scores do not determine whether or not a contestant becomes a finalist, it is judged by an even tougher crowd – the worldwide television audience.
To succeed and be noticed in the National Costume segment, it must be high camp, high glitz, very loud and eye catching.
It’s all about the glitter, the sequins, the feathers and the yards and yards of colorful fabric.
Miss Paraguay 1992 holds the record for having the biggest and heaviest national costume (rumor has it that the costume came in 5 boxes and had to be assembled on stage). If you watch the footage of the Parade of Nations, poor Miss Paraguay was relegated to one side of the stage the entire time as she literally could not move!
Yes, us Aussies haven’t fared very well at the national costume segment of the major pageants. Could it be that we are lacking a national identity?
Unlike our Asian neighbours Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Korea etc who have an established ‘national costume’ we Aussies seem to be lacking in the glamour stakes when it comes to representing ourselves on the pageant stage.
Besides, how glamorous can an akubra get. How sexy can you really make a singlet, thongs and VB? As much as we would love to use Indigenous inspired outfits, many of our designers just can’t be bothered going through the protocol of asking for permission and collaborating with an Indigenous artist. So strict are the rules that they can’t even appropriate or be ‘inspired’ by a design.
And rightly so.
It is with this kind of dilemma that our designers face and unfortunately, left to their own creative devices, our designers come up with the most abstract artsy fartsy concoctions.
Case in point – Laura Dundovic’s layered ‘gown’ in 2008 by Jayson Brunsdon (can I hear a WTF?)
and Rachael Finch’s outback meets the Opera House Vegas gown in 2009 (I still don’t get it).
Feast your eyes on some of our recent representations:
Remember Jennifer Hawkins’ gun metal grey strapless ball gown with a print of the Sydney CBD by Paris Dwyer in 2004?
No, of course you don’t.
Or Erin McNaught’s Crocodile Dundee/Outback stripper outfit in 2006 (yawn)
Let’s not forget the uninspired Baywatch swimming costume worn in 2007 by Kimberley Busteed (which by the way was worn first by Miss Universe Australia contestant Renee Henderson in 1998). Recycling at its best.
But possibly the worse of all was the monstrous excuse for a national costume by Michelle Guy in 2005.
Dear Pageant Girl finally let out a sigh of relief in 2010 when Natasha Dwyer of Arther Avenue came along with the high heeled ugg, the shearling vest and the bikini with the Indigenous print on it. Finally! A creative interpretation of our cultural identity.
And now we have Julie Sufi of Belluccio and her stunning creation for Jessica Kahawaty. We have waited long enough for an interpretation of our Indigenous culture that went beyond a swimsuit print, and here we are. Respectful, and glamorous.
What more can you ask for?
Ease up ‘fashionistas’.
Fashion’s meant to be fun, remember?