‘Typical’ is not a word to describe the boutique Miss Sydney Australia 2017. Although I was half expecting a grand pavilion jam-packed with people, it was an intimate and cosy setting at the Sustainable Salon on May 20th. Special guests include 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 the beauty world and sustainability and combines them into one spectacular pageant. Their main 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 then proceeded 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 they showcased beautifully embroidered and handmade garments. Thanks to designers, Vera Alexanderova and Olga Lalazay who were able to develop renewable fabrics with 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 tied 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. Congratulations to the entrants who received the following awards: 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. The MSA 2017 Runner Up was Amber Yee, Miss Tourism World Australia 17/18 is Julijana Nikolis and Miss Sydney 2017 was none other than Kiara McEvoy.
Holly Briar—Miss Sydney Australia 2016
Tell us about how you started in modelling and your background?
My name is Holly Briar and I started modelling when I was 18 years old. I started building my portfolio over the years and when I entered Miss Sydney Australia last year, I won. I’m currently working a lot with my agent and doing freelance work.
Tell us about the moment you realised you won Miss Sydney Australia?
I actually didn’t expect to win. I was standing there, and when I looked around everyone already had their awards. I didn’t have an award in my hand so I thought I was just going to get a participation award. I wasn’t expecting the last one to be Miss Sydney Australia so I was shocked! Yeah, it was very exciting.
What is the role of Miss Sydney Australia that you have to do?
Miss Sydney Australia is pretty much what you make of it. You can use your title to pursue a career in modelling, acting and fashion – you’re not just restricted to modelling which is the difference with the pageant as well. Also, there is a focus on sustainability and it’s always 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. You need to find a good photographer who is going to take good shots of you. You also need to market yourselves so you need to be business savvy as well.
Felice Colurusso, MSA Founder
Tell us about Miss Sydney Australia and its mission?
Miss Sydney is a start-up pageant. We want girls to come in with no experience; we want to give them the experience necessary and get them ready for the much bigger pageants. We also heavily promote sustainability and not just every day in clothing but towards the environment in general.
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. The salon picked these specific designers because we knew that they all produced hand-made pieces and sustainable clothing. We are also happy to stay as a small pageant – we believe it’s about quality rather than quantity.
What was the main difference between last year’s and this year’s pageant?
The main difference is that this year it was more traditional. We only had one designer last year who had a different series of formal dresses. What I noticed about our pageant this year is that we have a diverse range of girls. The other thing I like about this year’s pageant is that we also have girls who are big on social media and who have experience in television and print.
Any future plans for Miss Sydney Australia next year?
Next year we got Veolia and Salvation Army and a bigger budget to play with. What I want is a bigger show with more designers and more sustainable clothing.
Interview with Julijanna Nikolas, Miss Tourism Australia 2017/2018 and Kiara McEvoy, Miss Sydney Australia 2017
First of all what are your backgrounds and what made you guys join this competition?
Kiara: I know Felice – we used to live in the same suburb together. He used to sell horse products and I bought some for my horses – I actually compete on a national level. Felice told me to come and compete in the pageant as it was for a good cause and that’s how I got into it.
Julijanna: For me, Miss Sydney Australia was my first pageant. The pageant is very encouraging overall and it’s a great start for those girls who are just beginning. I competed last year and I became the first runner-up for Miss Tourism World Australia. It was amazing because I love travelling and tourism and just experiencing other cultures. I’m so grateful for this opportunity.
With these titles that you guys have now – where does this go from here?
Kiara: I’m hoping to get some modelling work out of it and hopefully get some agencies interested in me. The pageant doesn’t come with a locked-in contract either so I’m able to try out other pageants as well.
Julijanna: I will use my title as a platform to get referred to various agencies – it’s a twelve-month reign. I am just going to go around promoting the cause and hopefully travel to Malaysia to compete on an international level later.
What else do you guys do besides being pageant title holders?
Kiara: I’m studying my last year at school and I’m hoping to study family law in University.
Julijanna: I’m finishing my HSC soon and I’m also studying at NIDA – I’m studying a degree in acting and film. I’m doing this because I love the media industry and I want a career out of it one day.