Em Hardwicke is a 47-year-old mum of a 6, nearly 7-year-old son, Flynn, a Real Estate professional, and the reigning Ms. Australia World Universal 2021.
New to pageantry, Em’s World Universal journey has been a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. “The most valuable lesson I have learned is the value of being the real YOU! Real, genuine, and authentic. That is true beauty right there!!” Em said.
When deciding to enter Ms. Australia, New Zealand & Oceania World Universal, Em wanted her journey to mean something and she wanted to make a difference. Incredibly passionate about anti-bullying and suicide prevention, Em spends time supporting Bully Zero and advocating for a society where bullying doesn’t exist and for a society in which everyone, whether an adult or a child, feels safe, valued, and respected. Wherever her World Universal journey takes her, Em will continue to support and promote Bully Zero, anti-bullying, and suicide prevention.
When Em is not being a mum doing her mum thing, working, or studying, you will often see Em running or riding throughout the NSW Snowy Mountains training for the Ultra-Trail Australia 100K in May 2021.
GEQ magazine recently caught up with Em and here’s what went down:
How did you get into the pageant industry? How were you actually ‘discovered’?
I am new to the pageantry with Ms. Australia World Universal being my first pageant. I wouldn’t say I was discovered… but rather World Universal and I found each other through a mutual friend and beautiful soul, Robbie Canner. I can honestly say, if I hadn’t watched, in total admiration, Robbie’s journey I would not have started on this amazing, life-changing journey myself.
What do you like most about being a beauty queen?
For me, the best thing about being on this journey and about being a beauty queen is the wonderful and amazing people I have met, who, without this shared passion, our paths may never have crossed. It also is an opportunity to remind society that beauty comes from within and that regardless of how someone looks on the outside, it is really how a person acts, behaves, and treats others that allows their true beauty to shine through.
What is the downside to being a beauty queen?
Is there really a downside to being a beauty queen? I don’t believe so. Pageants and the pageant industry are largely misunderstood and I think, at times, are largely misrepresented. We are in such a powerful position to change society’s misconceptions about what it means to be a beauty queen. What better opportunity and platform to raise awareness about societal issues that are so often hidden because no one is prepared to talk about them… yet here we are strong, smart, beautiful women from all walks of life sharing their stories with total rawness, integrity, and authenticity that people will, and do, sit back and listen. Where is the downside in that!
What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?
Being crowned the inaugural Ms. Australia World Universal has obviously been a highlight, but my journey has only just begun. For me, it is the friendships I have formed. Living in rural NSW, I don’t always get the opportunity to meet people outside of my existing circle of family, friends, and work colleagues, so being able to build new friendships with an incredibly inspiring group of people means so much. I know there will be more memorable experiences to come, but I also know it is the people I meet along the way who will be one of the biggest wins I take with me on this journey.
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
Without a doubt, by beautiful sash sisters! I absolutely LOVE that we are all so different, yet so connected by this shared experience.
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 value in being the real YOU. Real, genuine, and authentic. That is true beauty right there!
Since I entered, I have always said, I will be a part of the pageant industry for as long as I don’t need to change the person I am and what I believe in. The moment I feel the need to compromise who I am and change the way I treat people and/or the way I behave is the moment I hang up my crow.
Working in an industry whose emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?
I am incredibly lucky to have friends and family around me who keep things real.
Maturity, life experience coupled with a lot of travel to different and remote cultures has helped keep me grounded all of my life, but the biggest and the best thing that keeps me grounded every day is my gorgeous son, Flynn! Flynn, at the age of 6, nearly 7, still has the ability to look at life with innocence and honesty that is so beautiful and amazing to watch. The privilege of watching this beautiful human grow and learn every day is my daily reminder of what is truly important in life.
I want Flynn to grow up understanding the importance of getting to know someone before they judge them, that he learns there is more to a person than how they look or the clothes they wear. I want Flynn to grow up knowing that it is not how someone looks that define their character or the person they are and have the potential to be and the only way I can teach him these things is to behave and treat people the way I hope Flynn will behave and treat others.
Is your family supportive of you being in the pageant industry?
Yes. My friends and family believe in me and all know I would never be a part of something I didn’t believe in so they support me wherever and how ever they can.
What are your future plans? Inside Pageantry or out of it?
My Ms. World Universal journey has sparked something in me. It has made me realise I have so much more to give to others. My journey will continue and I will continue to support and advocate for anti-bullying and suicide prevention and am currently in touch with a national anti-bullying organisation to look at how I can introduce anti-bullying education programs into more regional areas. I also want to continue working with Robbie to help grow the Ms. World Universal Pageant in Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania – this Pageant has the capacity to change lives, and I want to help be a part of that change.
Outside of pageantry – I have been an Event Director by profession and have spent most of my working career in the not-for-profit sector. Covid 19 and the International pandemic changed has changed the events industry and as a result, I was made redundant and forced to re-evaluate my career. Covid has opened doors into a new career path in the Holiday Property Industry which has also allowed me the luxury of time and focus to set up my own business, Meraki Events and Public Relations, a business I hope will allow me to lend my Events and Public Relations background and experience to the Pageant Industry.
The Lightning fast round:
- The last good movie I have seen: The Greatest Showman – I haven’t been to the movies for quite some time, but The Greatest Showman is one of those feelgood movies that I thoroughly enjoy every time I see it.
- What do you consider beautiful and why? I find beauty in so many different things, but for me, true beauty comes from within. The most beautiful person is someone who treats people with kindness, respect and equality. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou.
- What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could: hike the full length of the Pacific Crest Trail (all 2,650 miles or 4264.762 kms of it)
- If I had no fear, I’d… Climb Mt Everest! I have been to Everest Base Camp and just being at the base of the world’s tallest mountain was one thing… to climb it would be an entirely different experience.
- What is the one ‘flaw’ you wouldn’t change about yourself? I have been told many times “You are too kind for your own good!” Maybe I am, and maybe my kindness gets me taken advantage of or gets me hurt from time to time, but I won’t ever change that part of myself. I would rather feel disappointed or hurt from time to time than stop being kind to others. That’s part of who I am and it is who I will always be. If kindness is a flaw, then it is a flaw I am happy to have.