On Saturday the 5th of May, I took part in the NSW preliminary final of the Miss World Australia pageant. I’ve never done a pageant before so this was completely new to me. I love public speaking and talking about my passions, I also love to raise money for causes close to my heart; Miss World Australia raise HUGE amounts of money and awareness for Variety Australia and the Dr Charlie Teo Foundation, two charities I love! (Dr Teo has been a huge inspiration in my life, he is an incredible paediatric neurosurgeon and a pioneer in modern medicine, I hope to study neuroscience upon the completion of my degree – so I would love the opportunity to meet him some day! He and his wife are also long serving members of the Australian animal welfare group “Voiceless” which I am an avid supporter of and I am in awe of their activism and message.) Oh, and I LOVE an excuse to get dressed up – so it was a no-brainer! I had to apply!
A couple of months ago I sent away my application and was excited but trying not to invest too much emotion into it, I didn’t want to get my hopes up as hundreds of incredible women apply every year, I didn’t know if I was the kind of girl they’d be looking for but I knew I had an important message and couldn’t think of a more fitting platform for me to spread that message.
I got in! I was invited to the Preliminary Finals for NSW at Macarthur Square in Campbelltown. I arrived a whole hour early because my anxious brain wanted to account for ANYTHING that could have gone wrong – traffic, parking, my terrible sense of direction, a freak accident – I was going to be there no matter what! I was the first girl to arrive and was approached by one of the lovely event coordinators, we got chatting and soon enough, what seemed like bus-loads of stunning women started arriving.
I’m not going to lie – I was terrified. My brain went on a tangent – “you don’t belong here, look at these women, are you kidding yourself? You’ve got no chance.”
I was proud of myself for not letting my thoughts win. I struggle with social anxiety and trying to make friends terrifies me, I realise I often come across confident – but it’s easy to put on a façade as a protective mechanism. One of the many reasons I entered Miss World was to try and conquer that fear of meeting new people.
I introduced myself to the girls as they arrived, each and every one of them was so incredibly kind and radiant. I felt so blessed to be in a room with so many gorgeous, like-minded, kind-hearted women! I guess I was expecting the stereotypical “mean girls” welcome that often gets portrayed in the modelling industry, maybe because we’ve literally been conditioned for so long by society to hate each other. It makes me sad when I see women not supporting other women – I am FOR the girls, every damn day.
I think women supporting each other is such a wonderful thing and the feeling of sisterhood and community I felt at the Miss World Australia event on the weekend was so strong and empowering, I was so proud to be a part of such a positive, uplifting, inclusive event.
Each of these stunning young women has their own unique stories and journeys and I loved hearing about them all.
Once we’d all arrived we got stuck in to the choreography, it is incredible the amount of organisation that goes in to these events. I got to meet Deborah Miller (@pageantqueenaus) , the National Director of Miss World Australia, she is such an incredible and knowledgeable woman. We were lucky enough to have her choose our retailers outfits and give us advice. She was also part of the judges panel, along with renowned cosmetic dentist and academic – Dr Angelo Lazaris!
I wore a stunning red dress sponsored by David Jones in Macarthur Square for the fashion show section, and the most beautiful evening gown I’ve ever seen sponsored by Just Irresistible, right here in Tamworth! I’m so passionate about supporting small business and shopping local, so I chose to take my own dress for this section to represent the small community I come from. When I spoke with the beautiful Kylie from Just Irresistible in the lead up to the event I was absolutely thrilled she was kind enough to support my dream and dress me in the most gorgeous piece of clothing I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing!
Me rocking a gorgeous Just Irresistible gown for the evening wear section, Thanks Kylie! xx
As part of the show, we had to introduce ourselves, speak about our career and goals and of course, show off the outfits we were wearing. During the evening wear section we were given a question at random, many of them were geo-political, which everyone that knows me can confirm – I love a good political debate!
My question was controversial, I’m sure many people would have liked to avoid it, or felt uncomfortable speaking about it. But I am always open about my political opinions and love to give people a different perspective to consider. My question was in regards to my thoughts on pill testing at music festivals. I am 100% for the harm-minimisation approach. I spoke about my support for the initiative and how well it has worked overseas, and even recently on our shores at the Canberra Groovin the Moo. I will always support opportunities for minimising harm and protecting young people, whilst also being realistic about peoples free will. Regardless of our own personal choices and opinions – I think minimising and hopefully eradiating drug-related deaths amongst youth at music festivals should be our paramount focus. If we have the means to minimise the harm involved with these recreational activities should we not utilise them? Instead of congesting the judicial system and putting more strain on emergency services, we should intervene at the point of action and allow youth the chance to think twice about what they are doing as well as take initiative and responsibility for the actions by using the testing facilities provided for their safety. Pill testing can definitely work as a deterrent, but first and foremost – it saves lives.
I will admit, I was a little worried about how my response would be perceived, but this is the reason I did this, to bring something different to such a large platform – a voice that accurately and responsibly represents youth issues of today, and I believe I achieved that – and I guess the judges did too, because – I MADE IT TO THE STATE FINAL! Myself and 13 other gorgeous girls will be going through to the State Final this year!
So far, Miss World has already made it to my top 3 most incredible experiences of my life and I have a feeling it may just climb higher up that ladder as I progress with this journey! Of course, I will be keeping you all updated through my social media pages and be sharing all the details of my journey with you.
HOW CAN I HELP?
In the meantime, you can help support my journey by getting behind my fundraising efforts! This June, I will be participating in the Act for Peace Ration Challenge – where for 7 days I will survive on rations provided to a Syrian refugee seeking asylum from their war torn country to raise support, money and awareness for refugees wanting to make their home here in Australia. After making the treacherous journey to Australia, genuine asylum seekers are kept in detention centres for years before either being able to live freely or being deported and ultimately meeting their demise upon their return to their homeland. These people live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, many cannot speak English, have lost their families, are suffering with chronic health issues and a staggering percentage suffer with mental health conditions as a result. These are PEOPLE – fellow humans! And people are just turning a blind eye at this! It breaks my heart and I am so outraged at the lack of support they are offered. We need to do more. Every dollar counts, and if everyone that reads this donates just one dollar – we could feed a Syrian family for WEEKS! If everyone donated two dollars – we could vaccinate multiple families too! There is power in numbers, so please, visit my.rationchallenge.org.au/tyler-jane-lumsden to contribute to a community funded initiative making REAL change. Or visit my Instagram @tylerjane_lumsden and click the link in my bio!
To finish up this post I’d just like to thank two very important people – My boyfriend Kyle, and my best friend and housemate – Trista. You two are my soulmates. I would never have had the courage to pursue this adventure if it wasn’t for your unwavering support and I am forever grateful – Thank you xxx