Being the current Mrs Australia, a lot of people just see me as a beauty queen, and for a large percentage of the public, that’s what I’m known for.
In fact, I’m writing this having just wrapped up a stint in Florida competing in the Mrs International finals.
But despite the surface which I’m sure looks very glamorous and dare I say it – superficial – the path to where I am today really hasn’t been that different to what most people experience. In fact, it’s quite possibly been more challenging, so I couldn’t be more excited to share a bit of the bigger picture of my story!
I was born in Manly and spent the better part of my childhood years in Darwin with my twin brother, Adam (not a beauty pageant entrant!). I love the bush and its laid-back lifestyle, and always love to get back there whenever I can. It was also in Darwin where I met my now husband, Jason.
That sounds fairly idyllic, but I faced a few challenges growing up.
When I was 9 my mum was unfortunately involved in a car accident, which left her as a quadriplegic. At first, it was extremely tough on us as a family because we had to take on more responsibilities growing up, but the positive is that this was really the initial push that sparked my passion for with working with different charities.
Today I pride myself on my charity work, and I support the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the RSPCA and more recently, the Touch of Goodness Foundation. My aunt was actually diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2008, so I hold these charities extremely close to my heart.
We worked through my mum’s accident, but then came high school and like a lot of young people I was bullied as a teenager. I had acne, frizzy hair and freckles (there’s a not-so-flattering picture of me in Year 7 floating around as evidence) and my life and looks were definitely a far cry from that of a model.
Again, I tried to search for inspiration rather than letting it bring me down and it’s that experience that has made me so passionate about my blog, Chic Nation, which empowers young people to have a positive body image and self confidence.
From high school I went on to further education and graduated with a degree in Visual Arts. I also have an advanced diploma in graphic design, and since establishing my design consultancy business, have had the pleasure of working with fabulous clients like Ted Baker and Nike.
Modelling also came into the picture for me as an adult and really took off for me in 2007, and I mainly shot TV commercials and ad campaigns for different brands, like Ben Sherman and David Jones.
Fitting everything in can be difficult at times, but I have my parents to thank for my work ethic!
Through everything, I do have to say that the biggest, ‘pinch-me’ moment was receiving the title of Mrs Australia in 2013 as it really brings together everything that I love and have worked for. I feel extremely honoured to be part of this ‘International Queens’ family, and more importantly, to be associated with a title that recognizes charity work and family commitments.
The road so far for me has been wild and varied, albeit an extremely rewarding one, and who knows what’s next?
If you’d told me when I was a teenager that I’d be modelling internationally today, I would have laughed in your face. It’s funny how life surprises you.