The Miss World experience by Lyndl Kean
My name is Lyndl Kean, I grew up in Wollongong and have lived in Sydney for five years now. Modeling has been my dream career since I was a young girl. I have been lucky enough (and by lucky I mean I’ve worked my butt off to get where I am), to have modeled around the world and make a living here in Sydney, doing what I love.
Pageants always seemed so controversial, tacky and lame to be honest. Then a few people in my scene took that road and seemed to truly enjoy and grow from it all.
So in 2015 I decided to run for Miss World Australia.
Miss World is the largest and longest running international beauty pageant, launched in 1951, it revolves around ‘Beauty With A Purpose’. This gets contestants fundraising for children’s charities and brings help and hope to hundreds of thousands in need.
Beauty With A Purpose is the heart of Miss World. It was the most exciting and motivating part of the pageant for me. I’ve always been one to help others in need and this gave me the platform to expand and help even more people. Over three months of campaigning and fundraising I truly discovered a caring and emotional side of myself that I didn’t realize I had.
The more I spoke about Miss World the more I believed in it and all it stood for. It became a big part of my life for those three months. It was on my mind a lot. Perhaps too much. I went to bed thinking about it and woke up thinking about it. I’ve come out of the pageant a better person and I know my charity work, combined with the other contestants has changed lives.
Pageant videos on YouTube became my best friend along with the rest of the N.S.W. finalists who I surrounded myself with. These girls have been so inspiring and if friendships are all I take from this experience then I’m happy with that. These girls included a student doctor and a Hospital Specialist Representative in Central Nervous System division. Ananya Soni & Dani Nicole, WOW! Pageant girls are definitely not just pretty faces. When driven and motivated women combine forces we can achieve anything.
Family, colleagues and friends were so supportive and stepped up to help in my fundraising efforts. It was the ones I least expected to help that really went above and beyond. I managed to raise over $30,000 for Variety – The Childrens Charity. Variety empowers kids who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs to live, laugh and learn. Collectively Miss World Australia contestants raised over $300,000 for Variety.
Shearers Uggs is a major sponsor that really helped make a positive difference by donating Ugg boots for some of the girls to hand out to homeless people around Sydney. This was done during the regular food run and you’ll never meet people less greedy or more appreciative. This was humbling for me and I will continue to support programs like these.
The finals were held in Perth, Western Australia, this year at Crown Resorts. There has been some controversy around the way the pageant was presented this year and people are saying it’s gone too commercial. The contestants were encouraged to excessively promote the sponsors, which seemed to take away from Beauty With A Purpose. I’m always happy to give back to supporters so I didn’t have an issue with this. I use social media on a daily basis so I could easily incorporate this to my routine.
The crown used on the night (provided by Linneys Jewellery) was another hot topic being the most expensive tiara in history to be used for a beauty pageant. Valued at $2.5 million this seemed somewhat wrong when we are meant to be a charity-based group.
The winner was to receive a replica to keep. It is a truly enchanting piece of work! Security was high on the crowning night because if the tiara was to fall to the ground, (this happened to the winner in 2014) then all doors where to be locked and guests would be seated until all jewels were recovered. Sounds like a scene out of a James Bond film.
Over four activity packed days, 43 finalists were put through a number of judging components including a fitness challenge, multimedia challenge, talent show, runway show and a several interviews. The girls got little to no down time and an average of 5 hours sleep each night.
Hot tip, if you cant wear stilettos for 12 hours a day then don’t enter a pageant. It was certainly challenging but I was expecting this and it really helps to see who the strong girls are.
The schedule was constantly changing and not many people knew what was going on most of the time. We were always in a hurry. Food was scarce and expensive. (Don’t feed the models signs must have been sent out). The hotel Crown was however a stunning venue. We didn’t get a chance to actually go see Perth but Crown was always busy so we got a taste for it.
As the crowning night came around, the mood and attitude for a lot of the girls had changed dramatically. Most seemed to have given up. We were all exhausted, emotional and very sore! Sore feet and sore muscles from the fitness challenge just two days before.
Miss World Australia has an evening gown sponsor who supplies all gowns for the crowning ceremony. Unfortunately a lot of the girls were given 4 minutes to try on a dress. I was given no options or say in what I was to wear for this night that I had worked ever so hard towards. This was heartbreaking for me.
As a model I would be handed a dress and learnt to always comply with the designer. It slipped my mind that this was MY moment and I needed to feel good in my gown. I was robbed of this. One girl even decided she wasn’t going to go on stage due to the dress handed to her. She was then convinced it would be better to go on in her own dress than not go on at all. As soon as I stepped on the stage, I felt like a princess and all the girls looked breathtaking as a whole!
Channel 9 was on the scene for the duration of the night, capturing every aspect. The buzz and atmosphere was unlike anything I’ve been a part of.
The show opened with an Indigenous Australian dance, which was moving. There were also performances from the Variety Children’s Choir and the winner of Miss World talent, Shikye Alyce. There was not a lot of time for each girl to have their moment in the spotlight so opportunity needed to be seized. I was not use to this. As a model I am use to not having a voice, just being a canvas or coat hanger.
Finally, Tess Alexander was crowed Miss World Australia 2015. Tess is a Personal Trainer from Queensland and this fine redhead couldn’t be more deserving. Tess is the first redhead to be crowned Miss World Australia and we are all hoping this will be to her advantage as she competes for the Miss World title in China this December! Good luck Tess!! Make the aussies proud!
The highlight of the night for me was being awarded Beauty With A Purpose. This is the heart of Miss World, the highest scoring component of the competition and I could have cried. To be recognized for all my efforts was an honor. Beauty With A Purpose 2015 will be my title I hold forever. It will be a constant reminder for me that I do have a purpose and I can make a difference. Cheesy but true.