While my friend Natasha Dwyer designed and made the Miss Australia National Costume for Jesinta Campbell I have discovered I've only had an inkling of what is involved in national pageant events. It wasn't until I started talking with Karen Gee that I discovered just how much passion, drive and dedication contestants put in.
Karen Gee is an everyday woman, raising a family, sharing her life with her best friend and husband and who is, by the way, a stunning contestant in the Mrs Australia Globe contest.
So come get to know this inspiring and charming woman in this series of stories. First we get to meet Karen and then through the series, we get to learn more about what's involved, how to get sponsors and where it all leads to next.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Karen Gee. I am happily married with five beautiful children who light up our lives, and who we are incredibly proud of. As well as being a National Finalist in Mrs Australia Globe, I am a National Ambassador for Lorna Jane Activewear. I keep very fit and active. I do this not only for my body, but my mind as well. I rise at 5:30am every morning to train, this gives me a great start to the day, and continues to make me feel empowered all day long. I love networking, listening and learning from positive people and try my best to put this into practice. Giving back and helping others is also of great importance and gives me a lot of joy.
What is the Mrs Australia Globe Contest about and why did you choose to be part of it?
Mrs Australia Globe is the largest National Pageant for Ms/Mrs in Australia. Mrs Australia Globe is not just a celebration of beauty and culture, but it serves as the largest charitable event for the WIN Foundation Australia, a nonprofit outreach that specialises in abuse and self esteem recovery. Mrs Australia Globe is a once in a lifetime opportunity for women focussing on friendship, empowerment, self esteem and the enjoyment of helping others. Mrs Australia Globe is a creative and quality event that offers both the enjoyment of the competition and personal growth.
I chose to be a part of Mrs Australia Globe because I saw a chance to challenge myself and use the profile from the competition to make a real difference not only for Mrs Australia, but also two incredible charities. Now six months on, Mrs Australia Globe is something I love being a part of, and has brought me a lot of joy and has given me back confidence in the working environment since having children. I have achieved so much personally and professionally and this is due to been given the opportunity of this journey.
What do you think are the key differences between Mrs Australia Globe and Miss Australia?
Mrs Australia Globe is a Pageant open to women over the age over 26 - women can be single, married or in a defacto relationship and have children. The competition does have a pageant element to it, however also focusses on supporting those in need through awareness and fundraising.
Miss Universe Australia you must have never been married, over 18 and under 27 and have never given birth - Although not familiar with this pageant, I believe this is more focussed on body and beauty and as a result the winner will gain modeling contracts and opportunities in the modeling world.
How did you choose the charities to support?
There are two charities aligned with Mrs Australia Globe, so you don't have the choice of charities, however, the two charities Women In Need Australia and Project Dovetail are helping people I am very passionate about - Women and Children. These are two contrasting charities but all in all both causes that require as much support as we can attract.
Who are your sponsors for this endeavour?
I have been totally blown away by the sponsors and supporters willing to help with my journey, in any way they can. I cannot explain the feeling I have to know that there are so many businesses, corporations and general public that are so interested in what I am doing and wanting to be a part of it. There are sponsors in particular that have stood by me from the beginning of my journey and they are:
Macquarie Equipment Finance
If you’re crowned Mrs Australia Globe, what you do hope to achieve in your year’s service?
I am often asked this question and always have the same answer. It would be such a privilege and honour to be crowned the next Mrs Australia Globe, I would proudly represent Australia as Misses, but more importantly I would like to have a very active role in reaching out to every woman to tell them they, are incredible, and are amazing, love who are are and live you own dreams to realise the true meaning of happiness.
It gives me a lot of joy and satisfaction to help others and not only will I be out there proudly as Mrs Australia Globe, I will raise more and more awareness for WIN Australia and Project Dovetail to help them become National Household Names, and continue to work with all of my sponsors and supporters through the year ahead and build on this as well. I would also be very focussed to go on to represent Australia in the Mrs Globe Final in United States in 2012 - which brings women together from all Nations.
What do you hope your children will gain from your involvement with the Mrs Australia Globe contest?
They are obviously so proud of what I am doing and what I have achieved this year. But whether I am in this or not, they are still proud (thank goodness), I am their Mum that is what is most important to them, that I am here to love them, cuddle them, listen, communicate, and embrace them every single day, and that is my number one priority in life - to ensure that my children are loved unconditionally and protected.
Being in Mrs Australia has shown another side of me that they have never experienced before, and they can see what joy it brings me, so that makes them happy too. Zali our little princess is only 4, so all she sees is the crown and beautiful dress, but I have instilled into all 5 children to accept everyone in life - everyone is special, Crown or not. I hope the children gain an understanding of the importance of giving back to those less fortunate.
Usually we start off on a new endeavour with one set of expectations but find that our experiences create a big range of new experiences that we just didn’t foresee. What have you been pleasantly surprised by since starting out on this adventure?
The Support. I never dreamed that I would have so much. It is a lot tougher these days with what has gone on in the world with the financial crisis, floods, earthquakes - but what never seems to fault, is people feeling great when they help someone else, no matter what.
My expectations from the beginning are a lot different to what they are now in terms of raising awareness and money for the charities and also what I have achieved personally, it is so much more and way beyond what I thought.