Originally published on Star Central Magzine on the 25th May 2017
‘Typical’ is not a word to describe the boutique Miss Sydney Australia 2017. Although I was half expecting a grand pavilion, jam pack with people, it was an intimate and cosy setting at the Sustainable Salon on May 20th. Special guests include Tegan Martin, Miss Universe 2014, Holly Briar, Miss Sydney Australia 2016 and John Bailey from Official Images were there to support the contestants in their final round.
Miss Sydney Australia embodies both beauty world and sustainability and combines them into one spectacular pageant. Their primary mission is to encourage their contestants to incorporate a more eco-friendly lifestyle; swapping out the mass-produced beauty products and fast fashion that plague our everyday lives.
Although the pageant was small in size, it emits an aura of charm which welcomes the audience with warm regards. There was a homely ambience made up of the harmonious chattering of friends and family—who waited patiently for the event to commence at seven on the dot.
When the show started, the audience was introduced to nine contestants; Emma Metcalf, Rachel Perkovic, Megan Malone, Kaitlyn Yee, Amber Yee, Ashleigh Neil, Diana Zamenbokova, Kiara McEvoy and Julijana Nikolis—who strutted down the catwalk in their chosen evening dresses, wowing the audience.
“Today we start our journey and commitment towards promoting and encouraging sustainability in our everyday living which is now a pioneer way of using pageants/events as a platform to spread this message,” remarked Felice Colarusso, MSA founder opened up the night. He proceeds to ask each contestant about “What is sustainability means to them?” and as expected their answers were articulate and sophisticated.
The highlight of the event was the eco-friendly fashion runways where there showcase beautiful embroidered and handmade garments. Thanks to designers, Vera Alexanderova and Olga Lalazay was able to develop renewable fabrics with an eclectic textures and vibrant colours. As the contestants walked with calculated grace and poise, they were able to capture the gentle cascading movements of the tie-dyed silk and the nomadic-inspired garments which awed the audience.
As the show came to a steaming halt, it was decision time for the contestants. An each anticipating second trickle down to the next, it was suddenly announced that Miss Sydney 2017 got to Kiara McEvoy.
Congratulations to the entrants who received the following awards.
MSA 2017 Runner-Up Amber Yee, Miss Tourism World Australia 17/18 – Julijana Nikolis, Miss Interview: Emily Metcalf, Miss Swimwear: Rachel Perkovic, Miss Fitness: Megan Malone, Miss Elegance: Kaitlin Yee, Miss Sustainability: Ashleigh Neil and Miss Congeniality: Diana Z
Interview: Miss Sydney Australia
Holly Briar—Miss Sydney Australia 2016
Tell us about how you started in modelling and your background?
My name is Holly Briar and started doing modelling when I was 18 years old, and I begun to build my portfolio over the years and entered Miss Sydney Australia and won. I just kind of working a lot with my agents and doing freelance work, acting and doing my own work.
Tell about the moment you realised you won Miss Sydney Australia?
I actually didn’t expect to win, I was standing there, and everyone already had they Awards, and I didn’t have an award in my hand and looked around I guess I get a participation award and then went on, the last one is Miss Sydney Australia. I was shocked, and yeah it was very exciting.
What is the role of Miss Sydney Australia that you have to do?
Miss Sydney is pretty much what you make of it and use the title to pursue a career in photography and modelling, and acting and fashion design you’re not just restricted to modelling which is the difference with the pageant as well. Also, there is a focus on sustainability—so when you are doing work it good to promote sustainability in your everyday life.
Any advice for the girls participating today?
I had a lot of questions today, and the main ones were “what is the first step in becoming a model and what should I do?” So, I said to them you need a good headshot and portfolio. So, you need to find a good photographer who is going to take some shots. So, a lot of models that we have here today don’t have images yet. They also need to market themselves—so they need to business savvy as well.
I love a bit of pampering—getting my makeup and hair was done. I love a bit of commercial, boho beach shoots and love being part of the creative process. I love collaborating with all the creatives all. It’s awesome.
Felice Colurusso, MSA Founder
Tell us about Miss Sydney Australia and its mission?
So, Miss Sydney I mentioned before is the start-up—we want girls to come in with no experience; give them the experience in one, over the three days in a big pageant and be ready to move on to the next pageant. So, I found the difference one) we are a startup pageant 2) we heavily promote sustainability and not just every day in clothing but environment; so they can use that message to other things.
Obviously, you have brought on designers who have a passion for sustainable fashion. Tell us about the art direction of this pageant?
The designers actually work with the salon—it a beautiful marriage that the salon already picked these designers because they knew that they all hand-made pieces sustainable clothing. We worked into a situation where it was a sustainable salon, and all the clothing was ready—and all they need to add was new girls, and I think it was perfect—as sustainability is that growth space—we got girls that want to grow. We are happy to stay a little pageant – it about quality rather quantity.
What were the main difference last year and this year’s pageant?
Last year beauty pageant compared to this year, the main difference was that it was traditional. We have only one designer who different series of formal dresses. What I noticed this year about our pageant too is the diverse range of girls. Last year started but this year from many different backgrounds which I like. The other thing is it not just about the photographic model anymore—we got girls who are big on social media, we got girls in television and media, we got photograph models.
Any future plans are any Miss Sydney Australia next year?
Next year we got Veolia and Salvation Army—a bigger budget to play with. What I want is a bigger show with more designers and more sustainable clothing, that what we are pretty much looking for next year; we can still punch out the same message to everybody—which niche market.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is about planting the seed now for it to develop later that seed is to make people very resourceful. Spending things not wasting things and make them think about what they are doing to make them think about the future. It doesn’t take much, if all of us do our little bit, funny enough we will become a sustainable country overnight.
Interview with Julijanna Nikolas, Miss Tourism Australia 2017/2018 and Kiara McEvoy, Miss Sydney 2017
First of all what is your background and what made join this competition?
Kiara: “I knew Felice just where we live—living in the same suburb together. He does a horse product, and I bought for my horses. (I compete on a national level) Felice said “You can come and compete in the competition as it was for a good cause and that how I got into it.
Julijanna: For me, Miss Sydney is my first pageant. The pageant is overall very encouraging, and it is a great start those girls who are beginning. I competed last year and became the first runner-up for Miss Tourism World Australia. It was amazing because I love travelling and tourism—overall just experiencing other cultures. I’m so grateful for this opportunity.
With these titles, that you guys have where does this go from here?
Kiara: I’m hoping to get some modelling work out of it and hopefully go some agencies and hopefully get work out of it. Although, there isn’t a locked-in contract, I able to try out other pageants as well.
Julijanna: With my title, it will put on a platform and refers you more agencies, and it is a twelve-month reign. I am just going to around promoting the cause. For me, I will be going overseas—(Malaysia hopefully), so there is no point of me entering other pageants.
What do you do other than pageants work?
Kiara: I’m studying my last year at school, and I’m hoping to study family law.
Julijanna: I’m finishing my HSC soon and also I’m studying at NIDA—a degree in acting and film. (I’m doing that because I love the media industry) and in the future, I would love to combine that with law and media.