Beauty Queen Spotlight: Get To Know The Beautiful Kaanchan S Farkiya

Kaanchan S Farkiya is the reigning Miss WorldClass and Ms. USA 2021. The World-Class Brand was established in 2016 by Derek Tokarzewski in Chicago, Illinois (USA) with a focus to empower, educate, and inspire. Miss WorldClass is an International virtual pageant that caters to established and experienced queens from around the world giving it a truly global reach. What she loves about being Miss WorldClass is the mentorship program which was established to help individuals focus on personal and professional growth through platform development. There are 3 core areas of the program: guidance, encouragement, and awareness which she enjoys doing. She’s thankful to those people who offered encouragement and supported her throughout her journey. Joining the pageant made her think deeper and connect with her core.

GEQ Magazine recently caught up with Kaanchan to discuss her journey in the pageant world and here’s what went down:

How did you first get into the beauty pageant scene? 

When I was a teenager someone from the television industry asked me to participate in a state-level pageant in India. I was not sure about whether I was ready to join a state-level competition at that time so I tried out in my first pageant just for fun. However, when I passed the selection process and the pageant team informed me that I did well in Miss Madhya Pradesh preliminary competition. In the final competition, I was placed as Miss Madhya Pradesh 1st runner-up as the first Princess in India. Since then, my new adventure of modeling and acting in television started. It was really an interesting experience. All in all, the support of my wonderful family and believing in me, made me think of participating in my first pageant. Working for something that I love to do and earning respect and support from people at a very young age was very invigorating.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the beauty pageant industry so far?

In 2016, I have earned five subtitles as Mrs. Role Model of the Year, Mrs. People Choice, Mrs. Elegance, Mrs. Congeniality, and Mrs. Cultural of the Year along with Mrs. Asian San Diego 1st runner up.

In the same year, I went to Las Vegas for the Ms. Asian North America competition where I spent one of the best weeks of my life. I still can’t believe that I was the winner of Ms. Asian North America 2016 and the most rewarding aspect is giving pride to my country. It was exhilarating and my reign was so significant and laden with meaning and admiration with my vision to fulfill all my responsibilities as a queen. 

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in your journey for Miss WorldClass Ms. USA 2021? This can be about the industry or yourself.

During my journey of Miss WorldClass, my dad passed away. My dad, who has been my source of inspiration. He taught me to never give up and he always had a positive outlook and to work hard towards my goal. That’s why I decided to dedicate my title to the memory of my dad. As I have learned so many life lessons from his life this year, faced all kinds of emotions of grief, but his guiding force kept me motivated. Some valuable lessons are as follows:

• Heath is the most important part of our life and we should start taking care from now.

• Surround yourself with people who uplift you. 

• Mental health is as important as physical health.

• Have patience and perseverance whatever you do.

Who is the biggest cheerleader in your journey to becoming a beauty queen?

My mother and my family members are my biggest cheerleaders who always motivated me for everything I do. My sponsors and some close friends always supported me directly and indirectly during my journey to becoming a beauty queen.

What was your reaction when the host announced that you were crowned for Miss WorldClass Ms. USA 2021?

It was a dream come true and surreal! I was beyond happy at that moment. For a moment, I wasn’t expecting at all that I was the title holder for this prestigious pageant as Miss WorldClass Ms. USA. I am extremely grateful for having received such an eminent and unique pageant system of Miss WorldClass. I am beyond thankful that I have been getting enormous love and appreciation from friends and fans around the world.

If you could go back in a time machine to when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I have worked as an actress in state-level tv serials and ad commercials in India. It used to telecast in the morning and prime time television every week. During that time, I was a science major student doing my bachelor’s degree, where I started working for tv. It genuinely took up a good amount of my time, but I felt as though dipping my toe in the water for so many other extracurricular activities along with studies had let me gain insight into other experiences and outlooks for life. 

If I could go back in a time machine to when I was just getting started, I would take my acting career more seriously, and I should have made a plan to balance both my studies and acting career. However, I believe that God always has a plan for you and whatever happens, it happens for a reason and today I am happy about all my decisions.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

The best advice I have ever been given that mindset can change the way of handling things in your life. With a positive mindset, it’s possible to view an obstacle as an opportunity. A new mindset works wonder and everything on the outside will change along with it. I applied this valuable advice and worked for me.

What are your plans/responsibilities for Miss WorldClass Ms. USA 2021? 

I think being a representative of Miss World-class is a responsibility and leadership opportunity to drive change. Currently, working as one of the board of directors of MM Town Council reinforces the positive outcome in my community. My dedication towards Miss World-class is based on humanitarian work and to work based on my platform. Since last year, people around the world have been suffering from pain, losses, and financial challenges. This has certainly affected the morale of the people around them who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. For this, we organized a global prayer for world peace through devotional songs, and the purpose of this program was to encourage those who have been struggling to regain the last breath of their lives in hospitals. I am working with few organizations where I will be helping in food distribution to needy people in hospitals and orphanages. I am also planning to help and support people who are suffering from mental health around the world through video conferencing. In addition, as a member of the Global Executive Committee and IATB President of California, I support, promote and help talented artists to realize their worth to reach new heights. Together with this, I am going to create virtual visits to the hospitalized children and I will provide an avenue for them to feel connected through my storytelling events. I will also be a part of hosting a video talent show to give the young and adults the opportunity to showcase their singing talents and share their stories of inspiration. Currently, my reach is for helping people on local, national, and international levels.

What advice would you give to the girls who are thinking of joining the competition?

I would like to say that no matter who you are and where ever you are in the world, you will know to some degree that you are unique and you are special. To all women – no one is like you and you never know that people are lookup at your story that you have overcome what you are going through now, and it could become part of someone else’s source of inspiration.

The Lightning-Fast Round: 

Last good movie I’ve seen: THINK AND GROW RICH: The Legacy 

What do you consider beautiful and why? I consider all feelings of giving is beautiful because it generates expression and feelings of joy, love, care, and dedication. Moreover, it gives inner peace and contentment that must be felt with the heart.

What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? I have so many to-do lists that I haven’t done. My pageant director Derek Tokarzewski says “Dreams do come true” and I believe in dreaming and keep working towards it. 

Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” hug all wild animals who need love.

What is the one trait you wouldn’t change about yourself? One trait I wouldn’t change about myself is being an empathetic person.

Dear beauty Queen: Posing Tips For How to Look Your Best In Photographs

Posing can be a struggle both for the model and the photographer. This is because some of the less-experienced models tend to wait for the direction of the photographer before striking a pose. They normally freeze in front of the camera and are mostly clueless about what to do. This situation makes it difficult and troublesome for the photographer to produce good photos.

The preparation for any photoshoot starts even before the photoshoot. You need to be aware of what kind of shoot it is. You can start looking at the related f magazines on the type of pose that they are doing. Not all of the tips here will work for everyone since the right kind of pose will vary in every genre.

1. Your Mirror is Your Friend

Stand in front of your mirror, take a pose and see how you highlight the shape of your body. The mirror is an ideal tool to show you the thing that the camera can produce. Consider the features and things that can be seen depending on the angle. For instance, in case you put your feet closer to the lens, then there is a possibility that your feet will look larger in the photo.

2. Create a Space on Your Limbs and Body

Squashing your limbs closer to your body will make you appear to look fat. Separating your limbs from your body will also create a slimmer appearance. This is a tiny cheat in the modeling world that can make a huge difference.

3. Understand the Light

For instance, in case you raise your arm on the light, it will basically look brighter compared to your face. There is also a possibility that it will cast a shadow on your face and body. A simple way to counteract this is by using your other arm. You may also adjust your arm backward to avoid the casting of the shadow. Having an understanding of how the lighting falls is a basic necessity in modeling. Ask the photographer about the key light and think about how you can work with it.

4. Elongate the Neck

In order to show class, poise, and height, elongating your neck would be a great solution. It is also one of the most difficult things to remember when modeling since this action feels a bit unnatural. Look in front of the mirror and stand in a normal position. Let your face come forward by rolling your shoulder backward. By now you have seen the huge difference in the neck’s width. You may even advance your pose by popping the jaw in front of the camera to create a shadow that will highlight your jawline.

Hopefully, the modeling tips that we provided above can provide some help for our aspiring models. These are just some of the tricks that most professional models wish they knew when they were just starting out.

Buckle Up, Australia: The 2021 Australian Golden Sash Awards Is Set To Hit Sydney In 4 Weeks!

The AGSA (Australian Golden Sash Awards) is a ceremony aimed at showcasing Australian beauty queens who have made the most outstanding contributions to the pageant industry during the year.

To provide integrity in the judging of the categories, National Directors are typically invited to nominate beauty queens who have competed in their respective pageant systems in the specified categories.  

This annual event is the first of its kind in Australia. The ceremony is brought to you by MS Entertainment Network in collaboration with StarCentral Magazine.

Unfortunately for 2021, biosecurity measures and travel restrictions have been put in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Thus, Australia’s borders are closed and sadly, other National Directors and beauty queens from interstate and overseas are unable to join our 2021 celebration.

Since we have COVID-19 restrictions in place, this year for AGSA, we have not opened nominations and there will also be no voting open from the pageant community; for 2021, each National Director can nominate their own champions from their respective pageant systems and they can award their champions during the AGSA ceremony. The National Directors who are unable to attend AGSA will be able to nominate their respective champions and AGSA certificates will be issued to their chosen winners.

On the day of the event, the attendees will be able to vote for special titles such as AGSA’s beauty queen of the year,  international beauty queen of the year, role model of the year, and humanitarian of the year from within the attendees present at the event. You must be a National Director, a titleholder, or a beauty pageant contestant to be eligible to vote on the day and the nominated person must be present at the event.

On a happy note, we look forward to seeing the pageant community celebrate with us again! 

What: The 2021 Australian Golden Sash Awards

Where: Dockside Darling Harbour (2 Wheat Rd, Sydney NSW 2000)

When: August 1 (11 am to 3 pm)

Tickets: $95

Beauty Queen Spotlight: Get To Know The Beautiful Diana Omuoyo

Diana Omuoyo is a Sydney-based IT professional and the recently crowned Ms. New Zealand World Universal 2021.

Diana has a keen interest in socio-economic initiatives around quality education and reducing inequality in communities and spends her time supporting global and local organizations that promote STEM and education programs. She has been recognized for her achievements professionally, personally, and as an instrumental contributor to communities around the world. Her mission is to continue to be a catalyst to change and a global advocate for women and under-represented communities. GEQ magazine recently caught up with Diana and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the pageant industry?

A few years back, I was having a conversation with someone at a community event and they asked me what I wanted out of life. I explained my goals and ambitions in working with a foundation and/or starting one in the future and their advice was to join a pageant that year. Having never been in or ever imagined myself doing a pageant before and my lack of knowledge of the industry, I was surprised by that recommendation so I graciously declined. Thankfully, we had a few follow-up conversations and I did a lot of research about pageantry and gained a better understanding of the industry. When the opportunity to join the Ms. World Universal came up, It was an easy decision for me. The platform’s mission and vision are in alignment with my goals, passions, and values. The rest, as they say, is history.

What do you like most about being a beauty queen?

The beauty queen is a title that is synonymous with leadership and service to others. As Ms. New Zealand, I am privileged and excited to now have a platform that I can leverage to amplify my voice and those of others to promote causes, spread awareness and impart change. I also enjoy having a forum where I can share my life experiences, journey, and passions. Pageantry has also afforded me great opportunities to participate in the community, charity, and social events where I have met like-minded individuals. Throughout this journey, I continue to grow and learn a lot about myself as I interact and share with people from all walks of life.

The beauty queen is a title that is synonymous with leadership and service to others. As Ms. New Zealand, I am privileged and excited to now have a platform that I can leverage to amplify my voice and those of others to promote causes, spread awareness and impart change. I also enjoy having a forum where I can share my life experiences, journey, and passions. Pageantry has also afforded me great opportunities to participate in the community, charity, and social events where I have met like-minded individuals. Throughout this journey, I continue to grow and learn a lot about myself as I interact and share with people from all walks of life.

The downside to being a beauty queen?

full-time job, personal/community commitments, hobbies, family/friends, and the pageant. But because this role is very important to me, I always make time to be present and committed which simply means multi-tasking and better time management. Another downside that I experience is that, while pageants continue to gain popularity, there is still some lingering stigma about beauty queens and pageantry. So, I find myself constantly debunking myths and educating others about the platform – and even when I fail to change the perception of others; I find that it is important for me to continue to believe in myself and what I stand for as a beauty queen.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?

I have had a lot of monumental experiences – the biggest one being crowned Ms. New Zealand 2021. I hit a lot of milestones along the way and had a lot of amazing moments that culminated in that glorious moment. One of the most memorable experiences I have had on the journey so far was a time when, at an event, I met and had a chat with mothers from a minority group. They expressed their utmost faith in me and were hopeful that their daughters would be inspired to dream big
after seeing someone that looks like them on a stage like this. At that very moment, I knew that my decision to vie for the title was the right one.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

● Robbie Canner – Ms. World 2018/19, Director, Ms. World Universal
● Sue Turner – Businesswoman, beauty queen, and celebrated humanitarian
● Other title holders including former Miss USA
● The other pageant contestants, directors, and judges

Is your family supportive of you being in the pageant industry?

My decision to join the pageant world surprised a lot of people but I am lucky to have had a lot of support from friends and family along the way.

What are your future plans? Inside pageantry or out of it.

I will always support and promote the Ms. World Universal mission and vision during and long after my reign as Ms. New Zealand. My ultimate goal and ambition is to have a seat on a board of a charity organization/foundation where I can leverage my experiences and passions to continue to support Education, Equality, and STEM initiatives on a local and global scale. I believe that education plays a key role in socio-economic wellbeing within our communities. However, Education is not limited to textbook/school learning but also includes knowledge sharing around cultural & societal issues. It is important to continue to create awareness around the dangers of exclusion, discrimination, single-story, and bias.

Meet The Woman Behind The Cover Of The May 2021 Issue Of GEQ Magazine: Sarita Ram Menon

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Sarita Ram Menon is the owner/director of Amogh Financial Services Pty Ltd and she has received various recognitions for contributions to society due to her art-based activism. She has been featured in mainstream newspapers such as Daily Telegraph, Western Weekender, Deccan Chronicle, Indian Express, and The Hindu and they have published articles about her journey and success in the plus-size pageant world.

A trained classical dancer, and a plus-size model cum actor – Saritha has been highly praised for her runway walks, as well as for being a body-positive influencer who offers a blend of culture and fashion. She’s a woman of substance for the world to see.

She recently represented Australia in the Mrs. United Nations Pageant where she ended up being crowned as the Mrs. United Nations World 2019. She was proud to represent Australia where she competed against other “Mrs. contestants” from Asia, Europe, South East Asia, Africa, America, etc…

Apart from being Mrs. United Nations World, she has also won other titles such as Mrs. South Asia India, Mrs. Talented and Mrs. Vivacious at the Mrs. India Worldwide pageant, and she will be the only South Asian queen who will be representing Australia at the “Mrs. Globe Australia Curvé” pageant to be held in California (post Covid-19 travel bans).

She’s a body-positive influencer and a plus-size model who’s proud to be Australian and quite happy about the multiculturalism in Australia.

GEQ magazine recently caught up with Saritha to discuss her journey in the industry and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the pageant industry? How were you actually ‘discovered’?

Even though in this day and age, married and plus-size women are slowly becoming a trend, the fashion and modeling industry is still dominated by slim-fit women and this is why many curvy moms do not get enough chances to be recognized and appreciated. Hence I got inspired by many successful famous curvy models to strive for what I wanted to achieve and make my passion into an achievement of a lifetime.

What do you like most about being a beauty queen?

Pageants teach women to be active and give back to the community. All of the women who participate in pageants are women with intelligence. Competing in this pageant and holding this title makes me a beauty queen who is held to a higher standard in the public eye thus I can impact the community positively with my goodwill.

Downside to being a beauty queen?

To be fair, it can’t be easy to think on your feet while many are watching at you during various pageants so small mistakes do happen but never had any big blunders. But yes, I just want to keep improving, to keep getting better as a queen.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?

To win that titles and have that crown on my head is a validation of my hard work. It’s like the judges thought I was worthy of the crown and those feelings are akin to winning anything that takes effort-exhilaration and pure joy..”I did it!”

Pageants have given me confidence, made me a better person, and helped me become recognized within my local town and countries also helped me make amazing connections around the world. Pageants are hard work but they are so worth it!

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I have met many famous and influential people throughout my runway shows and fund-raising events, to name a few: Mathew Hayden (Australian ex-cricketer), Barry O’Farrell (ex-premiere NSW and current Australian high commissioner to India, Julia Finn (MP), Jodi Mckay (Nsw labour leader), Julian Leeser (MP), Prue Car (MP), Sue Turner (Mrs. Universe Australia finalist) as well as many Bollywood celebrities.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the pageant industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

I learned to support and love the very girls I was competing against. I looked past all my fears and learned to accept criticism, carry myself and walk confidently. Actually, Your everyday life is a lot like a beauty pageant the experience is invaluable.

Working in an industry whose only emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?

I feel very confident in who I am and what I represent. I try to balance that confidence with a dose of humility. Grace and elegance, tact, and flexibility and be your best version. The best rule of thumb I have found is to be genuine.

Is your family supportive of you being in the pageant industry?

The support of each family member has likely been impacted me positively. being loved and them getting involved in my mental care benefits me so much. Winning previous pageants and titles was just because my family helped me to believe ‘don’t wait to lose weight or until your life is just perfect to make changes. Pursue your dreams right now!

What are your future plans? Inside pageantry or out of it.

I am due to become the face of a couple of plus-size clothing brands and I also modelled for the local fashion industry in Sydney. I’m also investing in women’s education and supporting victims of domestic violence. I also want to provide guidance with genuine love to all those plus-size moms who aspire to step into the pageantry world – I want to mentor them.

I want to continue the legacy of helping the needy and also convey this empowering message to all curvy girls and moms- “Feel confident enough to strut your stuff on stage and never let your size determine your swag.”

The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Godzilla Vs Kong.

2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Good Personality is beautiful as beauty fades after a certain time, but personality is forever.

3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Be a part of the army.

4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” have climbed Kilimanjaro during my Tanzania stay!

5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? Being curvy, as I have to never worry about getting padded.

Meet One Of The Queens Behind The Cover Of The April 2021 Issue Of GEQ Magazine: Cyprian Fruean-Posesione

Cyprian Fruean-Posesione is currently the reigning Ms. Ocenia World Universal 2021. Cyprian got her first taste of pageantry back in 1994 when she turned 21 years old and joined Miss Samoa. She has always wanted to showcase her talent and gain confidence in front of people. The next day she was selected to take part in a photoshoot for a magazine to promote Samoa Tourism. Her late grandfather Sala Suivai, saw she had potential with performing and entertaining at family and community functions so he encouraged me to take the opportunity to enter abroad. From there she had discovered her passion on stage within the pageant industry. She entered again in 1995 in the Miss Samoa NZ pageant in New Zealand where she won the talent and traditional wear segment and came 2nd runner up. In 2017 she joined Mrs. Worldwide representing Samoa in Singapore – she made it in the top 10 and won Mrs. Congeniality. Furthermore, in 2018 she represented Samoa in Taiwan at the Lady of Brilliancy pageant where she came top 10 for talent and the winner of the Lady of Charity title. Her National Director and Designer is none other than Tito Stowers.

GEQ magazine recently caught up with Cyprian and here’s what went down:

What do you like most about being a beauty queen?

Being a role model for young women and meeting new friends from around the world.

The downside to being a beauty queen?

Time: getting dressed, makeup and photoshoots.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?

Standing on stage away from home, proudly representing my beautiful Island of Samoa to the world, with the greatest honour to be around gorgeous queens from all around the globe.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

The Monks in Taiwan. I’ve always seen them in the movies and finally, I got to stand right next to them for a photo.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the pageant industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

Respect, passion, and expectations. Always forever respect others and yourself. Do what you are passionate about for yourself and make a great impact on someone in need. Never enter a pageant with the mindset of you are already the winner, because when you don’t win, you will only disappoint yourself at the end.

Working in an industry whose only emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?

Be the true ‘me’. Be proud of the person I am and where I am from. Never lose focus on staying positive and show love.

Is your family supportive of you being in the pageant industry?

100% always.

What are your future plans? Inside pageantry or out of it.

Continuously being a role model to young women and men, family members, or any community members that are in need of a helping hand. Also staying connected with loved ones and more on-stage experiences. I’d like to work alongside a few charity organizations as well such as Breast Cancer Foundation via work, The Kindest cut, Rest home visits, ISTIS- I survived therefore I speak and STOP child sexual abuse.

The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen: You are my home.

2. What do you consider beautiful and why? I consider LIFE itself beautiful. Because acceptance of how, when, what, and who created ‘LIFE’ and ‘US’ is beyond beautiful and extraordinary.

3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Travel to Laie, Hawaii. Polynesian Cultural Center.

4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear…” I’d be unstoppable in experiencing, completing, mastering every task, job by taking all opportunities in this world!”

5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? Too kind?

Meet One Of The Queens Behind The Cover Of The April 2021 Issue Of GEQ Magazine: Em Hardwicke

Em Hardwicke is a 47-year-old mum of a 6, nearly 7-year-old son, Flynn, a Real Estate professional, and the reigning Ms. Australia World Universal 2021.

New to pageantry, Em’s World Universal journey has been a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.  “The most valuable lesson I have learned is the value of being the real YOU!  Real, genuine, and authentic.  That is true beauty right there!!”  Em said.

When deciding to enter Ms. Australia, New Zealand & Oceania World Universal, Em wanted her journey to mean something and she wanted to make a difference.  Incredibly passionate about anti-bullying and suicide prevention, Em spends time supporting Bully Zero and advocating for a society where bullying doesn’t exist and for a society in which everyone, whether an adult or a child, feels safe, valued, and respected.  Wherever her World Universal journey takes her, Em will continue to support and promote Bully Zero, anti-bullying, and suicide prevention.

When Em is not being a mum doing her mum thing, working, or studying, you will often see Em running or riding throughout the NSW Snowy Mountains training for the Ultra-Trail Australia 100K in May 2021.

GEQ magazine recently caught up with Em and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the pageant industry? How were you actually ‘discovered’?

I am new to the pageantry with Ms. Australia World Universal being my first pageant. I wouldn’t say I was discovered… but rather World Universal and I found each other through a mutual friend and beautiful soul, Robbie Canner. I can honestly say, if I hadn’t watched, in total admiration, Robbie’s journey I would not have started on this amazing, life-changing journey myself.

What do you like most about being a beauty queen?

For me, the best thing about being on this journey and about being a beauty queen is the wonderful and amazing people I have met, who, without this shared passion, our paths may never have crossed. It also is an opportunity to remind society that beauty comes from within and that regardless of how someone looks on the outside, it is really how a person acts, behaves, and treats others that allows their true beauty to shine through.

What is the downside to being a beauty queen?

Is there really a downside to being a beauty queen? I don’t believe so. Pageants and the pageant industry are largely misunderstood and I think, at times, are largely misrepresented. We are in such a powerful position to change society’s misconceptions about what it means to be a beauty queen. What better opportunity and platform to raise awareness about societal issues that are so often hidden because no one is prepared to talk about them… yet here we are strong, smart, beautiful women from all walks of life sharing their stories with total rawness, integrity, and authenticity that people will, and do, sit back and listen. Where is the downside in that!

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?

Being crowned the inaugural Ms. Australia World Universal has obviously been a highlight, but my journey has only just begun. For me, it is the friendships I have formed. Living in rural NSW, I don’t always get the opportunity to meet people outside of my existing circle of family, friends, and work colleagues, so being able to build new friendships with an incredibly inspiring group of people means so much. I know there will be more memorable experiences to come, but I also know it is the people I meet along the way who will be one of the biggest wins I take with me on this journey.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

Without a doubt, by beautiful sash sisters! I absolutely LOVE that we are all so different, yet so connected by this shared experience.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the pageant industry? This can be about the industry or about yourself.

The value in being the real YOU. Real, genuine, and authentic. That is true beauty right there!

Since I entered, I have always said, I will be a part of the pageant industry for as long as I don’t need to change the person I am and what I believe in. The moment I feel the need to compromise who I am and change the way I treat people and/or the way I behave is the moment I hang up my crow.

Working in an industry whose emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?

I am incredibly lucky to have friends and family around me who keep things real.

Maturity, life experience coupled with a lot of travel to different and remote cultures has helped keep me grounded all of my life, but the biggest and the best thing that keeps me grounded every day is my gorgeous son, Flynn! Flynn, at the age of 6, nearly 7, still has the ability to look at life with innocence and honesty that is so beautiful and amazing to watch. The privilege of watching this beautiful human grow and learn every day is my daily reminder of what is truly important in life.

I want Flynn to grow up understanding the importance of getting to know someone before they judge them, that he learns there is more to a person than how they look or the clothes they wear. I want Flynn to grow up knowing that it is not how someone looks that define their character or the person they are and have the potential to be and the only way I can teach him these things is to behave and treat people the way I hope Flynn will behave and treat others.

Is your family supportive of you being in the pageant industry?

Yes. My friends and family believe in me and all know I would never be a part of something I didn’t believe in so they support me wherever and how ever they can.

What are your future plans? Inside Pageantry or out of it?

My Ms. World Universal journey has sparked something in me. It has made me realise I have so much more to give to others. My journey will continue and I will continue to support and advocate for anti-bullying and suicide prevention and am currently in touch with a national anti-bullying organisation to look at how I can introduce anti-bullying education programs into more regional areas. I also want to continue working with Robbie to help grow the Ms. World Universal Pageant in Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania – this Pageant has the capacity to change lives, and I want to help be a part of that change.

Outside of pageantry – I have been an Event Director by profession and have spent most of my working career in the not-for-profit sector. Covid 19 and the International pandemic changed has changed the events industry and as a result, I was made redundant and forced to re-evaluate my career. Covid has opened doors into a new career path in the Holiday Property Industry which has also allowed me the luxury of time and focus to set up my own business, Meraki Events and Public Relations, a business I hope will allow me to lend my Events and Public Relations background and experience to the Pageant Industry.

The Lightning fast round:

  1. The last good movie I have seen: The Greatest Showman – I haven’t been to the movies for quite some time, but The Greatest Showman is one of those feelgood movies that I thoroughly enjoy every time I see it.
  2. What do you consider beautiful and why?  I find beauty in so many different things, but for me, true beauty comes from within. The most beautiful person is someone who treats people with kindness, respect and equality. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou.
  3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could: hike the full length of the Pacific Crest Trail (all 2,650 miles or 4264.762 kms of it)
  4. If I had no fear, I’d… Climb Mt Everest! I have been to Everest Base Camp and just being at the base of the world’s tallest mountain was one thing… to climb it would be an entirely different experience.
  5. What is the one ‘flaw’ you wouldn’t change about yourself? I have been told many times “You are too kind for your own good!” Maybe I am, and maybe my kindness gets me taken advantage of or gets me hurt from time to time, but I won’t ever change that part of myself. I would rather feel disappointed or hurt from time to time than stop being kind to others. That’s part of who I am and it is who I will always be. If kindness is a flaw, then it is a flaw I am happy to have.

Meet The Woman Behind The Cover Of The March 2021 Issue Of GEQ Magazine: Chantelle O’Donohoe

Chantelle Patrice O’Donohoe is an inspirational beauty queen and a role model – she’s an empowered woman, mother, teacher, student, volunteer, and advocate. She has a strong passion for helping various charities and raising awareness for children’s medical services as well as children’s education. She also has a sincere concern for bridging the gap within the education of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians. Chantelle is also a mother who raises awareness for social issues and injustices and who has amazingly donated over 600 hours of her personal time to volunteering. She won Charity queen of the year at the Australian Golden Sash Awards in 2019 and was recently crowned the winner at the ultimate covergirl search held by GEQ.

GEQ magazine recently caught up with Chantelle to discuss her journey in the industry and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the pageant industry? How were you actually ‘discovered’?

It was more a case of me discovering pageantry. After spending a number of years competing in modelling competitions I sought out an outlet that would enable me to raise a voice for the charity services that I enjoyed working with. Unfortunately, competitive modelling was not the scene for this and after extensive googling, I discovered that pageantry existed within Australia and excitedly joined my first pageant.

What do you like most about being a beauty queen?

My absolutely favourite part of being a beauty queen is the opportunity to speak publicly on issues, injustices, and charity awareness on a much larger scale. It has enabled me the opportunity to be commended for my work within the social sector and also to form great partnerships with charity organisations.

The downside to being a beauty queen?

Judgment. There has been a stigma around pageantry for a number of years and it can take some time and explanation for people to understand the incredible growth and opportunity that you receive through pageantry.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?

Wow! There have been so many amazing memories that it is hard to pinpoint one specifically. I love every and any opportunity to get out in my community to speak on pageantry and Australian charities but I think my most memorable experience so far was when my daughter and I had won titles within the same pageantry system and had an entire year of sharing that joy together.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

I have been blessed to meet some truly incredible people throughout my journey as a beauty queen and I am thankful for each person I meet. Every person brings their own element.

There are some beautiful people who have stood out to me through pageantry and some incredible people who have stood out through charitable works that we have conducted together.

It is too difficult for me to break these down into individual names. There are so many amazing people.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the pageant industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

The most valuable lesson that I have learned throughout pageantry is that I am enough. In fact, I’m more than enough. I’m brilliant. And it was through pageantry that I began to develop my confidence and truly found myself.

Working in an industry whose only emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?

This has always been something that I struggled with, even back in my competitive modelling days. However, I did find that once I had allowed myself to focus on the opportunity, the experience, and the relationships formed you find that you will easily stay grounded. I also personally found it handy to throw myself further into my charitable works rather than focusing on my walks and wights, etc. changing my focus has allowed me to reduce my anxieties in these areas and also keeps me grounded.

Is your family supportive of you being in the pageant industry?

My partner and my daughter are my biggest supporters. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive family.

What are your future plans? Inside pageantry or out of it.

I would love to attend an International Finals at some point so that I can wear a gown inspired by my Aboriginal heritage on the world stage. This is my greatest goal within pageantry. I can’t wait to share my culture with the world.

The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Lion King (2019).

2. What do you consider beautiful and why? People. All people are beautiful for their individuality and their incredible unique minds. They truly fascinate me.

3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Complete the Kokoda trail.

4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” run for Prime Minister.

5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? My anxiety. As much as I may feel like it holds me back sometimes it also makes me who I am and keeps me on my toes.

Buckle Up, Australia: A Dynamic Multicultural Fashion Show Is Set To Hit Sydney In Less Than 3 Weeks!

The first-ever AMFF (Australian Multicultural Fashion Festival) has been moved from February 20 to Saturday, March 27 to make way for interstate designers and we can’t be more excited.

AMFF is a platform pioneered by StarCentral Media Group and The Australian Millionaires Business Network. It provides a sustainable platform for international and emerging designers that effectively engage with Australia’s diverse communities and presents an opportunity for designers to showcase their uniqueness and cultural nuances.

To find out more about AMFF, check out the details below:

What: The Australian Multicultural Fashion Festival
Where: PIA Grand Auditorium (2 Australia Avenue, Olympic Park)
When: Saturday, March 27, 2021
Tickets: Contact Vicky Chew on 0449 551 236

Meet The Men Behind The Cover Of The February 2021 Issue Of GEQ Magazine: Jojo Sebastian & Quintin James

Quintin James

Quintin began his career at the age of 15 dancing in a charity performance for The Cancer Council and hasn’t looked back since then. Working in theme parks, cruise ships, musical theatre (A Chorus Line, West Side Story), tours(Kylie Minogue, Human Nature, Bardot, Scandalous), TV, and fashion he has cemented his place in both the creative arts as a performer, choreographer, and director as well being involved in the production of creative works and fashion shows both nationally and internationally.

Working closely with modeling agencies, fashion houses, and models for more than 20 years has given Quintin an insight into not only understanding the inner workings of the industry but also what it takes to make it in an ever-growing and competitive market. Whether it be choreographing a fashion parade, directing models, pageant contestants, or working as a runway model coach, Quintin’s creative and unique perspective is what has made him a sought-after professional in high demand.

As a well-known and respected Confidence Coach. Quintin works on building a greater sense of natural confidence with his clients, no matter where they are in their confidence journey. GEQ magazine recently sat down with Quintin and here’s what went down:

1. How did you get into the pageant industry?

I got into the pageantry industry by being asked to judge then asked to run workshops for the contestants on walking, posing, and poise as well as overall performance coaching.

2. What do you like most about being a pageant coach?

What I like most about being a pageant coach is that I get to contribute to the overall success of the person not just in the pageant system but in life as they take the skills I teach into everything that they do.

3. Downside to being a pageant coach?

I personally don’t think there is a downside to being a pageant coach. My goal is to focus on the person I am working with and what their individual goal is. I don’t worry about anything else except improving my client.

4. What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?

I like all areas of the pageant industry, whether I am judging or coaching it is great to mentor and be an educator for those wanting to get ahead in their chosen field both on and off the catwalk. Memorable moments for me are all the time because I consistently see change and development and to me that’s great.

5. Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

Overall working with Kylie Minogue and Baz Luhrmann would have to be the most interesting people I have met in a work environment. In saying that I have worked with many talented famous and not-so-famous people that impress and interest me.

6. What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the pageant industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

The most valuable lesson I have learned in the pageantry industry is to be honest and true. Be memorable and be kind.

7. What is the best advice you have ever been given?

My most valuable lesson is to always be true to yourself and embrace yourself as uniqueness is the best quality. Also to listen and absorb what people are teaching you.

8. What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

My future plans are to work as a Confidence and Performance Coach as well as to continue my work as a Runway model coach and Fashion Choreographer. I am currently writing a book and look forward to the opportunity to help many people around the world.

The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Sicario

2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Beauty is embarrassing yourself and being kind to others.

3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? I want to appear on Ellen.

4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” swim with sharks.

5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? I am a perfectionist, even though I know perfection doesn’t exist I put high expectations on myself and always strive for perfection. That can create extra stress on me.

Jojo Almazora Sebastian

Jojo Almazora Sebastian is a devoted and compassionate nurse in the Operating Theatre at a busy Metropolitan Hospital in Sydney. However, on weekends, this orthopaedic nurse transforms into a charming and dashing tuxedo attired singer-entertainer and master of ceremony. A veteran of the United States Military Forces, he could be seen regularly in concerts where he performs as a front act for artists both locally and internationally. He is the main staple in the Local and International Pageant in the last 17 years.

Jojo was named the Australian Best Pageant Host in the Australian Golden Sash Awards for both 2019 and 2020. At the beginning of 2020, he was named as the Most Influential Person of the Year and Musician of the Year in Ava’s World Magazine Awards. In the same year, this former University Professor participated in Sydney Sings for Hope Concert for the benefit of the front liners for the Bush Fire that happened in NSW. He also lent his voice in the Heroes of the World Album recording the song “Walang Mahirap sa Buhay” written and arranged by Oliver Gadista.

In July 2020, this former disc jockey of Brother Joe and Pinoy Love Crew represented Australia in the First Virtual Edition of the World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA 2020). Furthermore, he will be representing Australia once again in the 25th Year of the World Championship of Performing Arts to be held in California USA in July 2021.

Recently, Jojo was nominated and awarded in the Inaugural Sydney’s Best Dressed due to his good dressing sense and confident personality. Moreover, he released his debut Christmas Album entitled: “Christmas Ain’t Christmas Without You” released 30th October 2020. Furthermore, he has received a nomination for the Manila’s Best Dressed for 2020-2021 to represent Australia in the prestigious Annual Event.

In 2021, Jojo aspires to broaden his horizon as an individual and concentrate on his advocacies he has been helping in the past 10 years. His advocacies include the following: (1) children and (2) Volunteerism. For the Children, he continues to support the various charitable institution and fundraised for Sydney Children’s Hospital and Cerebral Palsy Foundation. He also provides scholarships for the less fortunate in the Philippines to continue a college education.

One of the projects he really wanted to concentrate on in 2021 is Community Service by Volunteerism. Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial gain. Volunteering is often intended to promote goodness or to improve human quality of life. Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served. Jojo highly believes that if our community comes together and volunteer even for just a couple of hours a month under any charitable institution and non-profit organisation – it will make a positive difference in the personal and professional aspects of all individuals involved, especially oneself. He furthers state that he would like for the community to realise to volunteer is a social responsibility of all its member especially to the marginalised and disadvantaged.

Consequently, Jojo was just also declared a finalist in the Mister Diamond International Australia 2021 which will be held in April 2021. GEQ magazine recently caught up with Jojo and here’s what went down:

1. How did you get into the pageant industry? How were you actually ‘discovered’?

Pageantry is something innate in my family. I have numerous aunts, as well as both male and female cousins who are very active in pageantry back in the Philippines and Hawaii. I found myself interlaced with pageantry at the very young age of 7. Where I represented the country – USA in the Mr and Miss United Nations held at my primary school – South City Homes Academy, Binan, Laguna Philippines. I remember being crowned Mr. United Nations. That paved the way for me to be interested in pageantry. However, I actually just realised what impact pageantry had on me, in high school. Most of my classmates who joined pageantry approaches me and asks me to help them out with their talent. Normally it would be an interpretative dance or a national ethnic dance. An experience I can never forget was when a Filipino-Indian classmate approached me to teach her a Bollywood Dance. This was in 1994. I took the challenge and we won best in talent! That is how I got into pageantry.

In regards to discovery, I was discovered in male pageantry in college. When I joined Mr. Engineering 1996 at the University of Perpetual Help in Laguna. I represented the sophomore year. It was a very unforgettable experience because not only did I win 4 minor awards, I also placed 1st Runner Up at the coronation night. That experience got me started in pageants. And 20 years later, I am once again throwing my hat in pageantry – when I represent NSW and Australia in the Mr. Diamond International 2021 to be held in Brisbane this coming April 2021.

2. What do you like most about being a King/Finalist?

Besides the experience and the comradery, what I like the most whilst joining pageants are conceptualizing projects and undertakings that assist charitable institutions that I personally handpicked to support, fundraise, and contribute to during the pageant. The reason I like this the most is that I am able to use the platform that the pageant provides me to make a difference. The difference made is the most important thing to me because it could promote and assist change that I would like to see in the community.

3. Downside to being a King/Finalist?

For me, there are more advantages in participating in Pageantry than disadvantages.

One of the disadvantages is that pageants could be very expensive. However, one must be smart about this. I normally tend to go back to belongings. For example, Clothes to wear during any segment of the competition. I tend to get excited to be creative, imaginative, and resourceful with what I use which mainly comes from what I owned.

Another downside of being the Finalist in a pageant is the stigma of being self-absorbed and self-privileged. From my experience, this is normally the opposite. People in pageantry are very humble, charitable, and social.

4. What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?

Honestly, the most memorable experience for me in pageantry is the friendship I have made so far. I have met the most incredible and empowering individuals in Australian Pageantry. This has motivated and inspired me to be a better person not just for myself but mostly for my community. Another memorable experience for me is, winning the Australian Golden Sash Awards – Best Pageant Host in 2019 and 2020 and the Most Promising Pageant King of 2020. These awards encouraged and stimulated me to be better.

5. Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

There are so many interesting and noteworthy individuals I have met in Pageantry in general. However, three of the individuals who had made a great impression on me are (1) Mary Rose Salubre – CEO of Australasia Official – empowerment and generosity, (2) Mark Baylon – Managing Director of Miss Earth Australia – compassion, never-say-die attitude, and creativity; and (3) Sue Turner of GEQ Magazine – Kindness and Love of Others. Amongst the so many individuals who shine luminously and dazzlingly in Australian Pageantry, these three individuals made a huge impact with me. I believe set the golden standard of empowering the various individual in the community in their very own beautiful way.

6. What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the pageant industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in pageantry is to always be helpful to one another because we aim to reach the same goal. And if we help each other it is likely that we will achieve the mission and vision we set forth.

7. Working in an industry whose only emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?

I stayed grounded by reminding myself of my personal mission. However, this will not be possible without the help and support of my family – Josephine Sebastian (mom) and the whole of my family, partner, friends, and community. I dedicate and share my accomplishments with them.

8. Is your family supportive of you being in the pageant industry.

YES! They are my primary support and encouragement in all that I do. They never fail to make me feel that I have made a difference every day.

9.What are your future plans? Inside pageantry or out of it.

I would love to continue to support the charitable institutions that I have been supporting for years – Salvation Army, Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation, Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and Philippine and Australian Red Cross.

I also would like to continue to fund high school students and send them to University in the Philippines.

Finally, I would like to continue to fundraise for abused children.

The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen: FRIENDS on Netflix

2. What do you consider beautiful and why? My mom – Josephine Sebastian. She gave me life and she is my life.

3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Become a foster parent.

4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I would…” not be able to challenge myself to do things that I would not dream of doing like pageantry…

5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? Being a worrywart, because my partner mentioned how loving and affectionate I could be.