Monique Charlotte Shippen is an Australian model, singer, songwriter, and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss Earth Australia 2018 and represented Australia at the Miss Earth 2018 pageant. She also was crowned Miss International Australia 2019 and represented Australia at Miss International 2019.
Shippen was born and raised in Sydney, New South Wales and she started drama and dance lessons from the age of 4, keyboard at 8, private singing at 9 and self-taught guitar at 13. She sang in the St Mary’s Cathedral Choir throughout high school, as well as the Monte Singers and College Choir at Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College.
At the age of 15, Shippen did a songwriting course with Erana Clark (former Australian Idol & XFactor vocal coach), where she co-wrote her first EP ‘Not Guilty’. She returned to record a 10 track album ‘Headache’, at the age of 18, with music and lyrics written herself. Her debut single ‘Electrifying’ was released on iTunes and an official music video was released on YouTube. The debut single made the semi-finalist list of Unsigned Only (2015, 2016) and the International Songwriting Competition (2016). She also toured in a Spice Girls Tribute Band called ‘Viva Spice Girls’ in 2014, where she played the role of Posh Spice.
Shippen obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Contemporary Music) from Macquarie University, a Certificate III in Early Childhood & Care, and a Masters of Teaching (Secondary) Music at the University of New South Wales. She is also a children’s party entertainer and dresses up as princesses, superheroes, and celebrities. StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Monique to discuss her journey in pageantry and here’s what went down:
Can you tell us something about yourself?
I’m a singer, songwriter, teacher, and children’s party entertainer.
How were you actually ‘discovered’?
As a singer, I entered eisteddfods every year from the age of 10-16. I also auditioned for a songwriting course with the former vocal coach of X-Factor and Australian Idol when I was 15 and got selected, which eventually lead me into recording my own album. As a pageant queen, I did my first community pageant “Miss Wow Blacktown” when I was 18 and won the title.
What are your favourite downtime activities?
I live near the beach so I love going for walks. I also love discovering new nature walks. I love singing, arts and crafts too!
How did you start with beauty pageants?
I used to watch beauty pageants with my mum on the TV when I was little. When I turned 18, we heard about a community pageant and I decided to join. After such an amazing experience, I wanted to continue and join another one.
What do you like most about pageants?
Growing as a person, especially self-confidence. I used to be shy and seeing these confident women on TV inspired me. One of the best things is meeting amazing girls and working as a team for a cause. It’s not just about beauty, it’s about friendships and collaborating to make a difference in the world.
The downside to being a beauty queen?
There is no downside! There is a big responsibility in being a role model and contributing to society – which can make you quite busy – but I love being busy. Being a public figure could be seen as a downside but I always look at the positives – which would be that it is a wonderful platform and opportunity to promote your causes or send a message to a large audience.
What has been the most memorable experience of your life as a pageant winner so far?
The most memorable would have to be coming to Japan to represent Australia and meeting women from over 80 countries around the world. The friendships are everything and I love hearing about everyone’s causes, cultures, and countries. It opens up your eyes to the world and I love to travel so I’m excited to have friends to visit on my next holiday! Working together is the biggest impact so it’s great we can all be here together in the same place to “cheer all women”.
You’ve been in the beauty pageant industry for a few years now, what has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned. This can be about the industry or about yourself. Or both!
Even though in the end only one person will win the crown, the best thing is just to have fun, do the best you can, build relationships with the community and be passionate about your causes. If you just purely go in there to win, you will regret not making amazing memories with your pageant sisters.
Working in an industry whose only emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?
I have stayed grounded because I know if you feel confident and happy within yourself, your smile will radiate beauty and rub off onto others.
Is your family supportive of your career?
Extremely. They have always been supportive of my career as a musician, teacher, and pageant titleholder. They just want me to be happy with what I do in life, they are always there at my performances and give me support when things get really busy! It does get quite busy when I’m juggling three different jobs.
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
My future plans are to continue my advocacy as the reigning Miss International Australia – promote Ovarian Cancer awareness and Kindness In Action World Challenge. I am passionate about education and want to continue teaching children. If I had the opportunity to teach in other countries around the world, I would love to consider that. I also want to continue singing and writing songs – release some music very soon.