Chantelle Patrice O’Donohoe is an inspirational beauty queen and a role model – she’s an empowered woman, mother, teacher, student, volunteer, and advocate. She has a strong passion for helping various charities and raising awareness for children’s medical services as well as children’s education. She also has a sincere concern for bridging the gap within the education of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians. Chantelle is also a mother who raises awareness for social issues and injustices and who has amazingly donated over 600 hours of her personal time to volunteering. She won Charity queen of the year at the Australian Golden Sash Awards in 2019 and was recently crowned the winner at the ultimate covergirl search held by GEQ.
GEQ magazine recently caught up with Chantelle to discuss her journey in the industry and here’s what went down:
How did you get into the pageant industry? How were you actually ‘discovered’?
It was more a case of me discovering pageantry. After spending a number of years competing in modelling competitions I sought out an outlet that would enable me to raise a voice for the charity services that I enjoyed working with. Unfortunately, competitive modelling was not the scene for this and after extensive googling, I discovered that pageantry existed within Australia and excitedly joined my first pageant.
What do you like most about being a beauty queen?
My absolutely favourite part of being a beauty queen is the opportunity to speak publicly on issues, injustices, and charity awareness on a much larger scale. It has enabled me the opportunity to be commended for my work within the social sector and also to form great partnerships with charity organisations.
The downside to being a beauty queen?
Judgment. There has been a stigma around pageantry for a number of years and it can take some time and explanation for people to understand the incredible growth and opportunity that you receive through pageantry.
What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?
Wow! There have been so many amazing memories that it is hard to pinpoint one specifically. I love every and any opportunity to get out in my community to speak on pageantry and Australian charities but I think my most memorable experience so far was when my daughter and I had won titles within the same pageantry system and had an entire year of sharing that joy together.
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
I have been blessed to meet some truly incredible people throughout my journey as a beauty queen and I am thankful for each person I meet. Every person brings their own element.
There are some beautiful people who have stood out to me through pageantry and some incredible people who have stood out through charitable works that we have conducted together.
It is too difficult for me to break these down into individual names. There are so many amazing people.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the pageant industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.
The most valuable lesson that I have learned throughout pageantry is that I am enough. In fact, I’m more than enough. I’m brilliant. And it was through pageantry that I began to develop my confidence and truly found myself.
Working in an industry whose only emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?
This has always been something that I struggled with, even back in my competitive modelling days. However, I did find that once I had allowed myself to focus on the opportunity, the experience, and the relationships formed you find that you will easily stay grounded. I also personally found it handy to throw myself further into my charitable works rather than focusing on my walks and wights, etc. changing my focus has allowed me to reduce my anxieties in these areas and also keeps me grounded.
Is your family supportive of you being in the pageant industry?
My partner and my daughter are my biggest supporters. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive family.
What are your future plans? Inside pageantry or out of it.
I would love to attend an International Finals at some point so that I can wear a gown inspired by my Aboriginal heritage on the world stage. This is my greatest goal within pageantry. I can’t wait to share my culture with the world.
The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:
1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Lion King (2019).
2. What do you consider beautiful and why? People. All people are beautiful for their individuality and their incredible unique minds. They truly fascinate me.
3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Complete the Kokoda trail.
4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” run for Prime Minister.
5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? My anxiety. As much as I may feel like it holds me back sometimes it also makes me who I am and keeps me on my toes.