Scherri-Lee Biggs on being Miss Universe Australia

Professional Beauty spoke with Miss Universe Australia, who is now ambassador for Nude by Nature cosmetics, about entering the Miss Universe competition, her beauty regime and what's next for her.

Q. Was this the first beauty pageant you have entered? If not what was.
Miss Universe Australia is the first beauty pageant I have ever entered.

Q. What prompted you to enter beauty pageants/Miss Universe Australia?

One of my friends from WA who had entered the previous year suggested I enter. She then [ut me in contact with the WA organizers from Pink Tank Events. I was actually living in Melbourne at the time but decided to come back to Perth to represent my state as I will always be a Perth girl at heart!

Q. Why was it important to you to enter Miss Universe Australia?

When I begun I just saw it as an opportunity and an adventure. It is important to me to take risks in life and experience new things. But as the competition progressed I understood the importance of it and what you can do with the role. The value in promoting a healthy body image and the strengths of women were some of the core values which stood out to me.

Q. How do you think the public’s perception of you has changed since you entered?

I think that my perception of the “public” has changed most. Before this my “public” was my friends and family, now it’s the entire country. For me it’s a massive change but I am comfortable and excited in letting people know who I am and hopefully building a lasting relationship with them.

Q. What was your game plan/intention going into the Miss Universe competition in Brazil?
I had no game plan. I believe that a pageant world is different for an Aussie; it’s those great laid-back and friendly qualities which make us unique in the competition. I tried to stay positive throughout the competition, build some relationships and show them that I am hard-working and pleasant.

Q. Who did your makeup and what look were they going for?
During the competition it was Kryolan. They did beautiful HD makeup which accentuated the features on everyone’s faces. But the rest of time most of us did our own makeup. Makeup artists from Nude by Nature had taught me some tricks of the trade including to hide tired eyes and always look my best, and quickly too! The Mineral Cover was good since we were in air conditioning all day long and helped my skin breathe.

Q. Why is the choice of clothing and makeup so important in the competition?
I don’t think these things are of great importance. They’re not something which wins or costs you the competition. But I do think we were there to represent ourselves and take pride in who we are. It was important that your wardrobe and makeup, etc. embodied who you are and what you were trying to promote about yourself.

Q. What was your favourite part of the competition/outfit?

Well actually my favourite part of the competition was the day we played soccer against some of the other girls. It was great fun and we were trained by the ex-captain of the Brazilian winning world cup team.

Q. What does being Miss Universe Australia mean to you?

It means everything to me. It was scary at first because with this huge role comes responsibility. I have an opportunity to inspire people and I don’t want to waste that. I am looking forward to this year now that I have settled back in Oz and Brazil is over. I can really address what it is I want to achieve with this role and action it.

Q. Have all your experiences in the competition been positive? Any negatives?
It would be a cliché for me to tell you that everything has been fine and dandy since July 7th. There have been difficult times but my ultimate belief is that the good really does outweigh the bad. Leading up to Brazil I did feel a lot of tension but at the same time excited for the possibilities ahead. It was a complete change in my life. I was suddenly in the public eye and an ambassador of multiple brands. It is amazing how quickly you adapt and become comfortable in your lifestyle.

Q. How have you dealt with the negative experiences?

I have an amazing support group. My family, friends and boyfriend have all been the greatest support. If I have an issue I need to work through I discuss it with my "team" and figure out the best solution. At the end of the day I know that if all else fails I still have them. Having them gives me the strength I need to take risks.

Q. What would you say are the pros and cons of being in a beauty pageant?
Pros: Confidence building; networking opportunities; introduction into media worlds; friendships; learning how to conduct yourself; learning more about yourself and what you stand for; public speaking; thrill seeking; healthy body image; prizes and career opportunities.

Cons: Intensive training (have to be very switched on); sometimes invasive media attention. I think sometimes what can affect girls is the mind games they play on themselves by pre-empting everything which is a tiring and long process.

Q. What is your own personal beauty regime?

I try to keep things simple. But I just have a basic wash and mosituriser process ,and keep a hydrating mask which I use 2 – 3 times a week. It helps keep my skin hydrated from all the flying. Seeing as I wear makeup most days I tend to wear the Nude by Nature range as it lets my skin breathe and stays on all day – this sounds a little strange, but the makeup's finish actually gets better as the day progresses as it works with your skin.

Q. Do you have any beauty tips you learned in the process?
I have a few tricks up my sleeve – I love contouring my face. Nude by Nature has this great combo of bronzer and illuminator cream. The bronzer helps define my cheeks and the illuminator highlights my cheekbones, brow bone, bridge of the nose and Cupid ’s Bow. My skin is left looking summery and dewy. I am all for simple and easy makeup.

Q. How do you think the perception of beauty pageants has changed in recent years?

The women that win these competitions, particularly in recent years, are obviously intelligent, savvy and healthy young women. They are not sellouts with eating disorders or dumb as a doornail; I think that’s an image that the media loves to create but it’s a tired and old image. The confidence it takes for the contestants to enter the pageant is exemplary to any woman. The success of all my predecessors is clearly not a result of a pretty face.

Q. Now that the competition is over, what’s next for you?

For now I still have the role as Miss Australia until July next year and I hope not to waste a minute of it! I have some very exciting commitments with my sponsors which keep my schedule pretty full. I will also be helping out with next year’s girls in coaching them and hosting some of the heats; I hope to give them as much help and advice as possible.

Beyond this year I am not quite sure yet. I think that over the coming months I will experience so many different things that hopefully my choices will be narrowed down a little!

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