As Pilates and Cycle Studio and Nutrition Provider for Miss West Coast this year, we followed the Perth finalists on their journey to Miss Universe Australia.
Claire and Lou got the chance to fly to Melbourne for the big event in June and had a fab time. We were so happy when Perth girl Bella Kasimba was crowned the first runner-up. Such a great achievement! It couldn't have been awarded to a more down-to-earth and intelligent woman.
Fast-forward two months and Bella is still feeling the energy of the event. We caught up with the Perth musician to get the low-down on how it really feels to be a part of Miss Universe.
Congratulations on finishing first runner-up in Miss Universe Australia! What an achievement! That must still feel surreal.
Thank you very much for your congratulations! It does indeed feel quite surreal, even now. I still get excited shivers thinking about it haha. This experience far exceeded anything I could have dreamt up, and was one of the most fruitful periods of learning that I’ve experienced so far.
What were your expectations going into the event?
I try to live without too much expectation of external things panning out in any specific way. Instead, I try to put the focus on making sure I am intentional with what I am doing and figuring out how I can move through different experiences in a way that honours my inner self and feels most aligned in representing who I am and what I want to express.
This was definitely challenging at times because it was a totally new world for me, and I think when you are new to a type of environment it can be tempting to think you need to mirror, to a degree, what is happening around you in order to fit in or thrive. I didn’t even own any makeup prior to this, let alone done any modelling or used Instagram in any real way, so it took me some time to find my groove with all these new things and find a way to utilise them in a way that felt true for me.
What inspired you to enter Miss West Coast and continue on to compete nationally?
I spent the last 4 and a bit years living in London before moving to Perth at the end of last year, and when I returned to Australia, as a woman of colour myself, I couldn’t help but notice the huge lack of diversity represented in Australian media and in influential/positions of power in general. So when the opportunity arose to take part in the Miss Universe Australia program, I thought it could be a great opportunity to open up the conversation around diversity and representation in a mainstream space, and show that there are many versions of the Australian story and the Australian experience.
How did you go about preparing for Miss Universe?
Exercise wise, to get myself physically feeling my strongest and healthiest, I, of course, visited the LA Fit studios quite a bit for both Megaformer and Ride classes. I also enjoy doing a lot of hot yoga, as I find this not only helps me keep my body feeling flexible and relaxed, but also helps my mind stay calm and centred. And I swear by it for achieving clear glowing skin!
In terms of the mental side of things, I was conscious to keep up a routine of meditation and visualisation. I’ve been using these tools for quite a few years to help me manage performance nerves, anxiety and to help me just enjoy and embrace the ups and downs of life. I definitely notice a huge difference in my wellbeing when I regularly practice them!
What have you gained from the whole experience? You must have learned a lot about yourself?
Where to even begin! This whole experience has just been one massive learning curve and journey of self-exploration. I would say the biggest thing that I’ve come away with is a new awareness of a depth of strength and assertiveness that I wasn’t fully aware I had.
I’ve been in high-pressure environments and situations before (I studied at the Royal College of Music in London – if you’ve ever seen the movie Whiplash it was pretty much like that haha) but these times have always been centred around a skill that I have been working on for years, and that I knew to some degree I was pretty good at, so I had a trust in my ability to keep pushing me forward and to draw strength from. Whereas with this experience, I was diving into something completely unknown, so I had to learn to draw confidence and trust from somewhere within myself.
Having come out the other side though, I see that if you can learn to feel confident and trust yourself, no matter what your external environment is, life will be that much richer, more enjoyable and you will soar even higher. So I’m extremely grateful to have been able to learn this.