Indian origin beauties have significantly been ruling the pageant contests across the globe. Indian origin Australian resident Maria Thattil was crowned Miss Universe Australia 2020. She follows Miss Universe Australia, Priya Serrao, another person of Indian origin, who won the same title in 2019.
The pageant event was held virtually owing to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
“I’m a little bit chuffed to be honest, I’m a little bit lost for words,” she stated after winning the prestigious title.
“Winning this title to me is an example. There are a number of norms that have been challenged and broken in order for me to sit here in front of you as your Miss Universe Australia today”, she added.
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How can you not beam with this exquisite piece of art in your hands? Privileged to represent my country wearing a Crown that does exactly that so beautifully. Being united with this Crown after a virtual Final was special. @stelios_jewellers partnered with renowned Indigenous artist @djurandi_dreaming to create a piece that serves as a tribute to our First Nations people. As a woman who prides herself on belonging to a multicultural society enriched by our powerful, rich First Nations history and culture – I cannot express the pride I feel wearing a Crown that honours the traditional owners of the land we live on. @missuniverseaustralia.official – thank you for the honour. Thank you @msfionabyrne for the wonderful chat (as always), @robleeson for the laugh and the great shots – and Mr Scott and the team at @sofitelmelbourneoncollins for their hospitality. Hair by @caterinadibiase at @headingouthair Dress @onsboutique (@lovenookie) Watch @christianpaulwatches #MissUniverse #Missuniverseaustralia
Maria Thattil is proud of her Indian roots.
“I belong here and at the same time, I strongly resonate with my Indian roots. I have found a balance between the two. It is not either-or for me.
“This is who I am and it is very unique”, she stated.
The 27-year-old Miss Universe Australia is a fashion influencer and posts makeup and lifestyle videos on her Youtube channel (by her name) for her followers.
She studied psychology and management and now works with the Victorian government.
“I work in People and Culture for the Victorian government and am also a digital creator and brand ambassador in the beauty, fashion, lifestyle and empowerment arenas.
“Both jobs enable me to apply my degrees in both Psychology and Management and to exercise my advocacy for inclusion, empowerment and equality”.
Her parents migrated from India in early 90s. Maria was born and brought up in Melbourne.
“My dad is from Kerala. He still has family there and I have travelled to India to visit my dad’s side of the family.
“My mom is from Kolkata. When she migrated, her entire family migrated too. So I grew up with a large family of uncles and aunts and lots of cousins in Melbourne,” she stated.
Maria won her title from amongst twenty-eight other talented and inspiring apirants from all walks of life.
The winner of the ninth year of Miss Universe Australia Maria, is a 27-year-old dog-loving, family-oriented, Nutella-fanatic, and an ambitious Melburnian!
“Quite the eclectic mix of adjectives, but very me!” she said.
“I also enjoy singing, but my audience is strictly limited to the shampoo bottles in my shower”, she hurriedly added.
Maria is an advocate of Inclusion and Diversity
Currently working on developing a community based social enterprise; Maria believes that Miss Universe Australia title would give her an “opportunity to amplify that mission and vision”.
She also looks forward to working with brands, charities and organisations that “align to my advocacy, and to represent the power and potential of women in a global arena”.
As the winner of Miss Universe Australia 2020, she will receive the prestigious Minespec Parts grant worth $20,000 to spend on her education or a business startup.
Although, she had intended on investing the grant in the creation of an app for empowering women and girls, however, this she has changed her mind since the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the pandemic, Maria created an Empowerment Series online where she co-creates episodes with an audience on Instagram Live, discussing an array of topics – racism, mental health, confidence, sexual harassment, body inclusivity, pandemic productivity, bullying and more.
This has now evolved to include interviews with influential and insightful public figures like Siera Bearchell (former Miss Universe Canada 2016), Ami Desai (LA Based Influencer and Mom-Blogger) and Jess King (Australian plus-size model).
Over the last five months, the series has reached more than 110,000 people all over the world.
“I realised that I was able to facilitate their empowerment… (which) birthed the idea of a community-based social enterprise that seeks to coach people for confidence and to live consciously”.
Maria Thattil now intends to use the Minespec Grant, to “invest in my startup and to developing that platform to further the economic, social, occupational and emotional wellbeing of that community of women and girls”.
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