Glitz, Glamour, and Empowerment at the Official Crowning of Miss International Australia 2023

Photo Credit: Tony Palliser of Studio 49

The stage was set, and excitement filled the air as Proxima Hub played host to the highly anticipated official crowning of Miss International Australia 2023. Attended by a diverse and enthusiastic crowd of guests, the event promised an evening of elegance and celebration.

Upon entering the venue, guests were greeted with a delectable spread of culinary delights that left taste buds tingling with delight. The food was nothing short of amazing, adding a delightful touch to the evening’s festivities.

As the spotlight shone on the stage, reigning Miss International Australia 2022, Anjelica Whitelaw, gracefully made her way to the center, ready to pass the crown to the deserving winner. With National Director Julieta De Leon by her side, the moment was filled with anticipation and emotion.

The prestigious crown was placed upon the head of the newly crowned Miss International Australia 2023, Jazel Alarca. Her radiant smile and poise exemplified the qualities of a true beauty queen, capturing the hearts of the audience and leaving a lasting impression.

The event’s seamless execution and magical moments were made possible by the visionary minds of Marc Baylon and Jasper Lim from Stargazer Production. Their dedication and attention to detail ensured that every aspect of the evening was nothing short of perfection.

A special highlight of the evening was the presence of esteemed guests, including Miss International Australia 2021 Monique Shippen and Susana Danielle Downes, the reigning Miss Earth Australia 2019. The event also played host to the queens of Mrs. Earth Australia, Serena Antonia Peralta, Miss Little Earth 2023, and the Miss Junior Earth Australia titleholders: Water 2023 – Sittie Mariam Busok Calle, Air 2023 – Jehan Namrawi, and Miss Teen Earth Australia Air 2023 – Jerlyn Rama Gubat. Their presence added a touch of prestige and camaraderie, uniting beauty queens from different pageants under one roof.

The official crowning was supported by Millionaires Alliance, a major sponsor, and StarCentral Magazine, the event’s official media partner. Their unwavering support highlighted the significance of the evening and the positive impact of empowering young women through beauty pageants.

The event was not only a celebration of beauty but also a celebration of empowerment and the embodiment of grace and intelligence. Miss International Australia stands as an advocate for various charitable causes and embodies the essence of female empowerment.

As the evening concluded, it was evident that the official crowning of Miss International Australia 2023 was a resounding success. From the stunning venue to the inspiring speeches, the event showcased the brilliance of young women who aim to make a difference in society. The pageant served as a platform for dreams to take flight and for strong, independent women to shine.

In the spirit of empowerment, the event instilled a renewed sense of purpose among the attendees, reminding them that every individual has the power to make a positive impact on the world. The official crowning of Miss International Australia 2023 was an unforgettable evening, leaving everyone inspired and eager to support the journey of Jazel Alarca, the new face of beauty and empowerment.

The Big Reveal: Meet The 2022 Miss Earth Australia Winners

Photo Credit: Dave Choo

Fourteen worthy queens vied for a single crown on Sunday, September 4, 2022, and the coronation night turned out to be a smashing success!

This year’s competition also included musical performances from Angel Charms, Queeness Gutierrez, Deuc3s, Adlips, and Darius Vevo, dance performances from the Philippine Dance Ensemble and Rommel Reyes Olson of Olson Dance World with his dance partner, Jane Standish, as well as a fashion showcase featuring Faten Lawn, Kruz La Mode, Caftan House, and Maricris Delapena Couture. We also got introduced to the Miss Little, Junior, and Teen Earth Australia Princesses, as well as the Mrs. Earth Australia 2022 official candidates Analieze Bella Newton, Anie Benitez, Irene Evangelista, Jenina Cotelo, Judith Nguyen, Kristine Tadem, Louise Veronica, Mary Venus, Mel Diaz, and Rhea Tecson.

The Miss Earth Australia 2022 coronation night went down at the grand ballroom in Hyatt Regency Hotel Sydney. This year’s cream of the crop for Miss Earth Australia consisted of Jaisy Molina, Ariel Beninca, Haley Cobb, Jessika Bassan, Kajol Chand. Kelsy Prest, Naomie White, Riley Aston, Robyn Russell, Sheridan Mortlock, Himaya Wijayaweera, Jaisy Molina, Mariah Whyte, Sofiia Starchevska, and Judith Sanougah.

Following a four-hour showdown of environmental speeches, gowns, glams, and game-changing questions, here’s how things turned out for this year’s hopefuls…

Sponsors’ Awards

StarCentral’s Choice: Kelsy Prest (New South Wales)
Miss Budgy Smuggler: Jessika Bassan (New South Wales)
Miss Millionaires Alliance: Naomie White (New South Wales)
Miss Megaworld International: Sheridan Mortlock (New South Wales)
Miss Hyatt Regency Sydney: Ariel Beninca (Queensland)
Miss Lari Sports Active: Robyn Russel (Australia Capital Territory)
Miss UME: Riley Aston (Queensland)
Miss Cruz Lamont: Mariah Whyte (Victoria)

Special Awards

Best in Swimwear: Sheridan Mortlock (New South Wales)
Miss Photogenic: Sheridan Mortlock (New South Wales)
Best in Evening Gown: Sheridan Mortlock (New South Wales)
Miss Congeniality: Kelsy Prest (New South Wales)
Miss Talent: Robyn Russel (Australia Capital Territory)
Best in Environmental Speech: Naomie White (New South Wales)
Darling of the Press: Riley Aston (Queensland)
People’s Choice Award: Himaya Wijeyaweera (Victoria)
Green Achievers Award: Himaya Wijeyaweera (Victoria)

Top 5 Winners

Miss Earth Charity Australia: Himaya Wijeyaweera (Victoria)

Miss Earth Water Australia: Riley Aston (Queensland)

Miss Earth Fire Australia: Robyn Russel (Australia Capital Territory)

Miss Earth Air Australia: Naomie White (New South Wales)

Miss Earth Australia 2022: Sheridan Mortlock (New South Wales)

Congratulations to the current National Directors Juliet De Leon and managing director Marc Baylon for pulling off the incredible event. Hats off to the Miss Earth Australia 2022 team – it was an amazing effort. Congratulations also to all the beautiful ladies, and best of luck to the new Miss Earth Australia 2022, Sheridan Mortlock!

You can watch the full pageant via this link: Miss Earth Australia 2022

The Big Reveal: Meet The 2022 Miss Earth Australia National Finalists

Miss Earth Australia is one of the most prestigious pageants in the land down under to date. It is held annually to choose which beauty queen will represent Australia in the international and global annual environmental-themed competition, Miss Earth. It was established 18 years ago and aims to utilize its beauty, brains, and talents to promote social awareness regarding environmental concerns and compassion towards our one and only Mother Earth.

Over the years, Miss Earth Australia has aimed to promote pageantry as something that is not always just about the crown, sash, and beauty. It continues to integrate and embrace more inner qualities such as substance, intelligence, kindness, and diversity.

After passing regional screenings, 18 finalists were selected to compete for the Miss Earth Australia 2022 title. Below is the list of candidates:

Himaya Wijeyaweera | Victoria

Her advocacy: “Living in Australia has made me so appreciative of the beauty that we carry throughout nature and the diversity of cultures. My – STRIVE FOR SUSTAINABILITY- approach targets everyone on how we as a collective need to work in unity to incorporate sustainable practices in our everyday lives! This pageant encourages the fulfillment of a purpose toward the protection and preservation of our mother Earth. By taking small steps to educate others on sustainability, I aim to use my platform to target the healthcare industry to bring light to how we can make the change to be more considerate.”

Judith Sanougah | Victoria

Her advocacy: “My decision to join Miss Earth Australia stems from my belief for the environmental problems with a special focus, especially on deforestation – this is my chance to have the journey where I try my best to make a change and leave my mark on our planet, along with teaching young women especially ones like myself with my kind of skin colour and my kind of hair that they are also considered beautiful, and that beauty is not based purely on looks, but that beauty stems from having a purpose.”

Zena Skuthorpe Dowel | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I joined Miss Earth Australia as I believe this organisation gives young women, whose voices are generally silenced, a large platform to talk about huge global issues to do with the environment.”

Jaisy Molina | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I chose to compete in Miss Earth Australia because it is an opportunity to raise awareness about the ongoing climate crisis. MEA stands for more than just beauty; it also stands for bravery and courage. Owing to this, I can speak out and inspire others to reduce and eliminate plastic pollution. Let’s protect our precious mother Earth. We are stronger when we work together.”

Fulla Sami | New South Wales

Despina Karpathiou | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “We need a change in the world! There’s so many things happening that aren’t being noticed! Gold mining in Uganda, kids working underground and dying. The weather events happening! The constant floods and devastation. We gotta stand up and do something!

Mariah Whyte | Victoria

Her advocacy: “I joined Miss Earth Australia as I believe this organisation gives young women, whose voices are generally silenced, a large platform to talk about huge global issues to do with the environment.”

Simonne Meiers | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I’m really passionate about the environment, in particular, climate change and what we as a whole population can do to lessen our carbon footprint on the planet and the greenhouse gases and carbon emissions released into our air. Miss Earth Australia is a really great platform where I am surrounded by like-minded people who care about the environment and our Mother Earth, where I believe I can really make a difference and be in a position to advocate for real change.

Haley Cobb | Queensland

Her advocacy: “I found Miss Earth Australia aligned very closely with my values and beliefs, and I believe Miss Earth Australia will allow me to further develop my self-confidence in my advocacy by raising environmental awareness towards businesses’ social responsibility.”

Sheridan Mortlock | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I joined MEA because fighting for the conservation and protection of our planet is the most significant battle we must overcome. I’ve always been an advocate for the environment, but this has been further intensified by my university studies. Currently, I’m undertaking a double degree in Global Sustainability and Politics. Miss Earth Australia provides an excellent platform to amplify our voices and action as we protect mother earth.”

Kajol Chand | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I decided to join Miss Earth Australia to pursue my interests in serving and preserving our environment. My love for nature stems from my upbringing and my background – having Fijian blood meant I was attached to nature. Nature is a big part of the Fijian culture, with much emphasis on keeping it thriving. I share this journey of mine with my sister Shayal who was born with a rare disability – she continues to inspire me to believe that we can create the perfect environment for coexistence between humans and the natural world.”

Robyn Russel | Australia Capital Territory

Her advocacy: “I joined Miss Earth Australia because I love the mission behind the organisation. I will be able to meet like-minded girls who have the same mission as me. It aligns with my morals and views to save Mother Earth. In my current full-time job, I am educating people about sustainability and the impact of internal combustion cars on climate change. Through this platform, I can broaden my audience and educate more people. Miss Earth Australia truly is beauty for a cause.”

Sofiia Starchevska | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I’ve decided to participate in Miss Earth Australia this year as I believe my life goals and values align with this pageant’s ethos. I’m here to learn more about what we can do to create the best future for the next generations, collaborate our minds, and drive a global change!”

Riley Aston | Queensland

Her advocacy: “I joined Miss Earth Australia 2022 because I believe in promoting environmental awareness, conservation, and social responsibility towards Mother Earth. I will utilise the Miss Earth Australia platform to make a difference by highlighting the importance of our environmental actions and acting on our social responsibilities to conserve the natural beauty of this planet we call home. I am excited to lead by example and share my eco-friendly tips with everyone throughout my Miss Earth Australia journey.”

Jessika Bassan | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “Coming to Miss Earth Australia, I can be a voice to empower everyone to be independent, believe in their potential, and don’t lose their essence of life. Being the eldest sister of my three younger sisters, I believe that I should be a good role model for them, where I live a humble and respectful life – while genuinely learning and finding my life’s true purpose.”

Ariel Beninca | Queensland

Her advocacy: “Our environment through Miss Earth Australia is such a solid cause to speak for and represent my advocacy – “Political Change for Climate Change.” Climate change is the greatest threat to our existence, and there’s only so much we, as individuals, can do about this issue. We need all governments worldwide to act on climate change, and we need to implement renewable infrastructure and hold corporations to account.”

Kelsy Prest | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I joined Miss Earth Australia because I absolutely love what the competition stands for. As a scientist, our job is to provide facts and information, so I wanted to do just that and use this opportunity and platform to promote biodiversity, encourage sustainability and create awareness, and will back it all with scientific evidence.”

Naomie White | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I gravitated toward the Miss Earth Australia pageant as I was inspired by my trip to the Philippines in 2018 and met former Miss Earth 2017 Karen Ibasco – she opened my eyes to the fact that young women have a voice to be a catalyst of change. As a young woman who has been proactive about the idea of a sustainable Earth, I find this the utmost opportunity to become a quintessential part of the change.”

In Photos: Miss Earth Australia 2022’s Official Sashing Ceremony

The journey to Miss Earth Australia 2022 has officially begun as some of the finalists (majority from Sydney) turned up last July 30 to participate in one of the most important pageants in the world. The grand finale will be held on the 4th of September 2022, and at the conclusion of the grand finale, Miss Earth Australia 2021 Phoebe Soegiono will be crowning her successor. The Miss Earth Australia Organization recently held its grand launch and sashing ceremony, which saw National Director Julieta De Leon sashing all the beautiful finalists. The ceremony was held in Hyatt Regency.

The sashes looked fabulous, more so because of their simplicity. Its colour was the usual green, with the Miss Earth Australia emblem in white. The Earth Australia 2022 coronation night will be a fabulous event with delegates from all over Australia competing for the prestigious crown and the honourable duties that come with it. We can’t wait to see who gets to take the crown home this year!

Check out the photos below to see highlights from the Miss Earth Australia 2022 Sashing Ceremony courtesy of Ricky Yunata Photography.

Must-Watch: Miss Earth Australia 2022 Grand Launch & Fashion Show

What: Stargazer Production Pty Ltd together with Hyatt Regency Sydney and Megaworld International cordially invites you to attend an afternoon to remember.

Miss Earth Australia is a national beauty pageant that promotes awareness of environmental issues and the steps that can be taken by everyone to reduce our environmental footprint.

Miss Earth Australia is part of Miss Earth International, which has organizations in 120 countries and is now one of the world’s top three international beauty pageants.

Miss Earth Australia aims to channel the beauty pageant entertainment industry as an effective tool to promote awareness. The Miss Earth Australia Gala and Grand Coronation will be celebrating the reign and passing of the crown of Miss Earth Australia 2021, Phoebe Soegiono to the new Miss Earth Australia 2022.

You can witness the crowning of the new Miss Earth Australia 2022 on Saturday, July 30 at Hyatt Regency Hotel. A red carpet event with Miss Earth Australia supporters, patrons, and sponsors will be held to mark the occasion. Tickets are very limited so please buy your tickets NOW before it’s too late.

PRE SHOW SOCIALS: Time to catch up! Get to mingle with everyone as we serve VIP guests welcome drinks as well as a selection of chef-recommended canapes.

PRE SHOW PRESENTATION: A parade of Miss Earth Australia 2021 Queens and Miss Little, Junior as well as Teen Earth Australia 2022 Queens.

FASHION SHOW: An intimate show presenting several of our up-and-coming Australian designers will showcase their new collections featuring Stargazer Models and the National Finalists of Miss Earth Australia 2022.

MISS EARTH AUSTRALIA 2022 GRAND LAUNCH: The official launch of this year’s Miss Earth Australia 2022 will introduce their National Finalists representing the states of New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, and Western Australia.

A truly exciting journey ahead – after two years of virtually selecting their winner to officially represent Australia in the month-long Miss Earth International competition, they are finally back for a week-long face-to-face competition in selecting the next Environmental Queen from Down Under.


Where: Hyatt Regency Sydney (161 Sussex Street, Sydney, NSW 2000)

When: Saturday, 30 July 2022 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm AEST

Tickets: Via this link

Announcing The Official Launch of Mrs. Universe Official!

The Mrs. Universe Official Pageant is the quest to discover the world’s most outstanding married woman who’s looking to make a difference and make her mark in the world. Contestants must be married as of the date of entry, at least 18 years of age, as well as a resident of the country in which they compete. 

The Mrs. Universe Official Pageant also aims to bridge the gap between fashion, modeling, and pageantry. Its aim is to set a new standard in fashion, modeling, and pageantry. This is a life-changing opportunity for married women with a unique look and poise, lively personality, and passion for pageantry, fashion, and modeling. This is a competition that is designed to give ambitious women the opportunity to be a part of the national and international fashion modeling industry.   

Mrs. Universe Official is dedicated to women’s empowerment on a global scale. The Mrs. Universe Official organization is committed to helping women find their voice so that they can become powerful and unstoppable. The pageant believes that all women have a “Fierce Woman” inside them, and its mission is to create a vehicle that can reach inside and free their inner fierceness. Its mission is to empower women, facilitate change, and tap into their inner power.

The pageant will highlight and bring to light women with substance. The Mrs. Universe Official team’s focus for its contestants is to enhance women’s inner and outer beauty while they gain self-confidence and boldness within themselves; thus, the Mrs. Universe Official Beauty Pageant 2022 slogan is ” Powerful. Unstoppable. Fiercely beautiful.”

Mrs. Universe Official is the brainchild of Maryrose Salubre who founded Salubre Models back in 2006. Maryrose’s journey from initially establishing Salubre Models in 2006 led to a number of high-profile projects such as the Australasia Official pageant which was established in 2014, the International Golden Sash Awards, Sydney’s Best Dressed, and ultimately, Mrs. Universe Official.

Mrs. Universe Official also aims to empower, engage and inspire women of all cultures and backgrounds. The pageant’s goal is to build their self-confidence to the point that they become global ambassadors whose goal is to inspire change in the world. These women are game changers, go-getters, and highly driven individuals who don’t just talk about changing the world and making a difference but are motivated enough to initiate action.

The pageant week will be a fabulous week full of all things glitz and glam made up of live runway shows, presentations on relevant issues, and of course, exclusive, invite-only parties. The finalists from all over the world will be physically and mentally trained. They will be challenged with high fashion photoshoots, glamorous runway shows, and speeches on their advocacy.

In October of 2022, The Mrs. Universe Official Beauty Pageant will showcase more than 50 finalists from all over the world, as the pageant crowns its first-ever ” Mrs. Universe Official.” The finalists will compete at the prestigious “Coronation Night” in “The Emerald City” of Australia.  

Meet The Beauty Queen Behind The Cover Of The January 2022 Issue Of GEQ Magazine: Kerry-Anne Peterson

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Kerry-Anne Peterson is a Sagittarius-Capricorn beauty queen who’s currently studying Psychology – she plans to attain a Ph.D. in Psychology with a focus on diagnosing and treating mental illness. She also loves animals, and in fact, she has adopted and cared for a wide range of species, including dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

GEQ magazine recently caught up with Kerry-Anne to discuss her journey in the pageant world, and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the pageant industry? How were you actually ‘discovered’?

It’s a funny story actually! I walked at a charity runway for breast cancer awareness when a pageant trainer and scout approached me. They said they’d think I’d do a great job on a pageant stage, so I decided to try it out. At my first pageant, I won 4/12 titles; needless to say, I loved the experience and have been competing ever since!

What do you like most about being a beauty queen?

I get to help others and inspire people to be confident in their own skin. It’s always heart-warming to know that I’ve made a positive impact on someone.

Downside to being a beauty queen?

Unfortunately, the downside, as with any industry is dishonesty among companies. One of the biggest eye-openers for me was discovering that the title doesn’t always go to the rightful winner.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?

My most memorable moment was volunteering at an orphanage, the children put on a special performance for us, and we got to dance alongside them. My best moments have always been when I’m helping others.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

To be honest, mostly everyone! Each person I have met has a unique story, and I’m always able to learn or take something new from each 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.

Stay true to yourself, be strong, and trust in your ability. As I said earlier, I’ve experienced both amazing and not-so-amazing things while competing. The most important thing is to know who you are and love yourself as you are.

Working in an industry whose only emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?

You’ll actually find that the industry has changed immensely now; it is so liberating to see that diversity is the front-running theme now. People are now being valued and seen for who they are inside, which always counts from the start.

Is your family supportive of you being in the pageant industry?

Absolutely! Without their support, I wouldn’t even have gotten this far. They’re the ones who had driven me every time I’ve felt down and have praised me behind the scenes when it really mattered most. I love and adore my family and friends.

What are your future plans? Inside pageantry or out of it.

I want to open an animal shelter with a no-kill policy; animals deserve the absolute best we can offer them. I also want to focus on senior animal re-homing; statistics show that senior pets are usually left behind, which is so upsetting. Like I said earlier, I also want to get a Ph.D., so I have some really big goals!

I’ve always been a very ambitious and driven person, so I always strive to work hard and be the best I can be.


1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Halloween Kills; I love a good horror flick!

2. What do you consider beautiful and why? My pet dog Chloe, she’s just a little baby, and I love the way she looks at the world.

3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Probably visit a crystal cottage; I love collecting gemstones. I’ve always felt a spiritual connection to the Earth, and it’s amazing how gemstones come in diverse colours, compositions, and spiritual meaning.

4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” Cliff dive every single day.

5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? All of my fears make up who I am; they also make me brave because I can challenge them and feel accomplished.

This feature is courtesy of Road2Bollywood/International Film and Entertainment Festival Australia and WOW. Big shoutout to the director and founder Maxine Simmons.

Meet The Pageant System Behind The Cover Of The December 2021 Issue Of GEQ Magazine: Monarch International

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World Universal Productions is thrilled to announce their new brand Monarch International and is revealing some of their inaugural titleholders in this GEQ exclusive!

Monarch International is THE most inclusive organization in the modeling, glamor, and pageant industries.

There are categories inclusive of transgender and non-binary individuals, a category celebrating the art of Drag, a category just for talent, and an introduction to the world’s first international, all-inclusive pageant for Mermaids, Mermen, and Merfolks! All categories are open to anyone age 21 and over. Marital status and orientation are not a factor for inclusion.

Instead of traditional evening wear, Monarch International will hold a fantastical Charity Gala where the contestants will model their incredible creations along a specific theme, similar to the world-famous Met-Gala. The theme for 2022 will be Carnival in Venice!

Monarch International is finalizing its 2022 International dates, but it will be held in Washington DC in September 2022. Follow Monarch International on social media @WUPMonarchInternational and visit the website at to learn more.

Now, let’s meet the inaugural court.

Chuck Burk

Chuck is a diversity, equity, and Inclusion professional working in customer advocacy in the technology sector. He also serves on the DEI board for a not-for-profit group. He is the co-founder of a Political Action Committee focused on down-ballot candidates and legislation supporting traditionally marginalized and underrepresented groups. He is a former titleholder in the Miss Gay America system. Chuck enjoys travel, and his favorite place is Prague. He is honored, excited, and ready to get to work as the first Supreme Monarch International.

Evan Taylor

Evan resides in his native country of Scotland; he has a degree in Human Resources Management and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personal Development. He works as a Program Manager at Amazon. He was previously a restaurateur who co-created a brand new concept in casual dining with the UK’s youngest ever chef to hold a Michelin Star. Evan is passionate about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging and works closely with local abuse prevention, ritual abuse, and LBGTQIA+ charities in Scotland. He is a practicing Buddhist and really does want world peace. Evan will be spending the next year sharing the mission of Monarch International and is excited to welcome all of the 2022 delegates who seek to be his successor.

Arilyn Roberts

Travis Dupuy, otherwise known as, Arilyn Roberts is from Baton Rouge, and has competed in pageants since the age of 10. Arilyn is your current reigning Queen Apollo, Miss Southern Illusion Queen of the South, a former Miss Louisiana Gay America, and was recently named the inaugural Queen Monarch International. A licensed cosmetologist and barber, Arilyn has also been a cosmetology teacher for 10 years with Paul Mitchell. Arilyn is also an accomplished dancer and a member of the National Thespian Society. Arilyn has had the opportunity to appear on the big screen in the movie “Dallas Buyers” starring Matthew McConaughey, and was recently an extra in the hit TV series “Claws.” Arilyn is thrilled to be our first Queen Monarch!

Jorge Romo-Jimenez

Jorge is a 2017 graduate of Norfolk State University, where he was Mr. Norfolk State University 2015 and earned a BS degree in Chemistry. He is currently in his fourth year of teaching at a public charter school in Washington, DC. With his core values being authenticity, equity, and effectiveness, Jorge is passionate about education and creating a culturally responsive classroom where each scholar can learn and grow. As a black male educator in an underserved community, he prides himself on the safe space he creates for his students, the relationships he nurtures, and the growth mindset principles that serve as the foundation of his classroom. Jorge’s most important education pieces are the platform to enhance students’ voices, self-advocacy, and autonomous learning and thinking. While in the classroom now, he hopes to advocate for educational reform for students in low socio-economic communities and reform the oppressive structures in which educational systems have been rooted for centuries. Jorge is proud to represent Monarch International as the first International Ambassador.

Mermaid Echo

Echo is an international award-winning aquarium performer and aquatic educator. Echo is Wisconsin’s premier professional mermaid entertainer, specializing in children’s conservation education. Mermaid Echo Entertainment LLC works to inspire the next generation to care for at-risk aquatic ecosystems through storytelling and hands-on learning. Echo is a certified PADI Mermaid Instructor, Open Water Diver, and Red Cross Lifeguard who centers safety in their events and curriculum. They have over seven years of experience in one-on-one childhood development and aquatic education and have been running Mermaid Echo Entertainment LLC since 2016. They currently hold the titles Merfolk Monarch International, Ocean Ambassador, and Ms. Mermaid Wisconsin 2021. Mermaid Echo is excited to combine their love of mermaiding with a passion for supporting non-binary communities, as the Merfolk title is specifically for individuals who identify as non-binary.


Blixunami (Eric Milligan) is from Charleston, South Carolina. As a young kid, in 1995, Eric saw his mermaid on tv, the Jewel Hair Mermaid Barbie, and fell instantly in love with the creatures! Eric would spend their days daydreaming about mermaids. Once Eric got to High School, they found a website forum called mer-yuku where they met so many others that loved merfolk just as much as him. Eric finally found his tribe. After years of dribbling over others’ tail pictures and unwrapping videos, in 2012, Eric got blessed to receive their first tail for free from a long-distance friend. After putting the tail on for the first time, Eric knew life was complete, and Blix became their mer-sona. Eric mostly swam in local pools with friends until one day in 2016; he got his first paid gig as a professional Merm for Dallas Southern Pride. This then led to his 1st kid’s party, a 7 day trip to Italy for the Santarcangelo Festival, a YouTube interview with Davey Wavey and even scored an episode with Tosh.O! He has been a cover model for BEAU Magazine in South Carolina and at this time decided to create a more uniform look for his mer-sona and The Blixunami was born. Now, as The Blixunami, they made their new look debut at the Tybee Island Mermaid Festival and were a mega-hit with the crowd! Since then, Eric has done many festivals, parades, and other gigs. Eric’s goal as The Blixunami is to make sure that everyone that gets the chance to meet them leaves with a bigger imagination than before and the knowledge to know no matter who they are, what they look like or where they come from, they can always follow their dreams no matter what any says and to always SPLISH SPLASH ON THE ANCHOVIES! Eric is thrilled to be the inaugural Merman for Monarch International!


Syrena is Singapore’s First Mermaid, Singapore’s first and premier professional mermaid, and the founder of the Singapore Mermaid School.

Born and raised in the cosmopolitan Little Red Dot with the legendary Merlion as its cultural creature of myth, Syrena has made waves locally and internationally as an industry leader.

She has executed, hosted, and performed at numerous first-of-their-kind mermaid events in Singapore, including having her own weekly aquarium show, collaborating with the Singapore Zoo, performing atop the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel, as well as performing in a custom-built tank outside Tiffany’s. Besides the glitter and glamor of her larger-scale events, Syrena retains a soft spot for the signature mermaid appearances she executes for little ones, believing it is important that children are shown the wonder and whimsy of the world around them.

Adjacent to her performing career, Syrena founded the Singapore Mermaid School, which opened its doors to children and adults.
The Singapore Mermaid School was the first mermaid school in the world to establish a tiered and holistic syllabus, and was also the first mermaid school in Asia to be established by a professional Asian mermaid. The vibrant community that has sprung up from the School celebrates diversity, inclusivity, and sisterhood.

Syrena’s career has taken her from the chrome and glass infinity pools of Singapore to the shores of Hawaii, Bali, the Maldives, and most recently – America, where she headlined MerMagicCon 2019.

Syrena has dipped her fins in pageantry, securing a place as a Top 10 Finalist in Miss Universe Singapore, and is thrilled to take her place again in the scene for a cause that celebrates individuality and dynamism as Ms. Mermaid Monarch International.

Montara Grace

Montara Grace has been a professional mermaid performer since 2016. In her adventures, she has performed as far north as Ohio and as far south as West Virginia, where she has worked with the West Virginia Renaissance Festival since its opening in 2018. She has participated in several pageants in the past few years, having held the titles of Miss Mermaid Montana 2019-2020 and Miss Mermaid North Dakota 2021 with Miss Mermaid USA, Monarch of the Lake with Mermaid at Any Age, and Ms. Egypt 2021 for Ms. World Universal International. As a plus-size woman, her platform has continuously been diversity, inclusion, and body positivity. She works to create a space where everyone can coexist and supports others as they learn to love themselves. Pageantry has elevated her love of philanthropy. A long-time supporter of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Save the Manatee Club, and the National Zoo, Montara Grace has since donated efforts to the Maryland chapter of the TEARS Foundation, the Trevor Project. She is an active member of the Society of Fat Mermaids. She currently resides in Maryland with her dog, three cats, chickens, and mini pig, Pancake. This past year she founded a cat rescue, The Purrsery, for pregnant strays and abandoned kittens. When not mermaiding, volunteering, or bottle-feeding kittens, she works full time in vaccine manufacture. Montara is so excited to share the first fully inclusive Mermaid pageant with merfolk around the globe!

Meet The Shepreneur Behind The Cover Of The December 2021 Issue Of Global Elite Entrepreneur: Robbie Canner

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Robbie Canner is a 63-year-old entrepreneur, international model, and the Director and owner of Ms. Australia, New Zealand, Oceania World Universal, and Ms. Regal World Universal, and Ms. Majestic World Universal. She was crowned Ms. World back in 2018/19, and she’s the reigning Ms. World Universal Elite 2020/21. She’s also a public speaker on the topic “Age Is No Barrier.”

Since winning the Ms. World title, her public profile has considerably grown, allowing her to promote her platform and raise awareness and funds for cancer research. Winning major international titles in her 60’s has given her a platform, showing men and women from all walks of life, that age is no barrier to what anyone can achieve.

Since losing her son to cancer, her emotional and mental stress led her to visit thoughts such as, “I don’t want to be here anymore,” or “I want to be with my son.” However, her inner strength eventually led her to want still to continue living, have a say, and give direction to help others in any area of situational, emotional, and mental stress – assuring them that things can get better in time.

She loves chatting with future queens and friends she meets along her journey, and she wants to help them achieve their hopes and goals.

Global Elite Entrepreneur recently caught up with Robbie to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur, and here’s what went down:

When did your entrepreneurial flair first reveal itself?

My first business venture was 36 years ago when I started my Sports Therapy Practice which all these years later is still running at a huge and booked-out pace. I always did extra work in TV commercials and movies but always wanted to walk the runway at Fashion Week. Little did I know that it would take into my 60’s to achieve this as in right now. Now, after winning Ms. World in 2018, it has propelled me into many avenues of modelling, media, guest speaking, podcasts, promotions, and becoming the Director of my pageant event Ms. Australia, New Zealand, Oceania World Universal and Ms. Regal, and Ms. Majestic World Universal with my bestie Nancy Ellen Martin in the US now extending into Canada and Japan and the start of Monarch International. Between my practice, modelling and pageants, these are now my full-time jobs, and I love the combination. My practice works with the human body and movement, the modelling shows the human body and movement, and the pageants grow the human body and mental mindset. I guess I have the perfect combination woven together in all my careers. And I certainly don’t intend to retire from any of them, only increase this creative combination to success.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

To maintain and grow my businesses currently is staying on a platform of currency in the trends happening, contacting or being approached by the right people and companies, and just having the guts to put myself out there and take a risk. My practice has a history of success, so that takes care of itself, but my national and international modelling career through my agents is going very well and now entering a new realm. Collaborating with other sources is currently a project in play, so I guess it’s a watch this space over the coming year. I have a great team around me, so I am blessed with having the best in every area.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

The form of marketing to grow my businesses, especially for my practice, has only been through word of mouth, which I have been eternally grateful for my work has preceded the need to advertise. My modelling and pageant career has taken care of itself from being approached by many sources for interviews, magazine articles, and TV and radio interviews. I have put myself out there for fashion week and travel, but luckily, I have always been invited back to grow further.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

My social media platforms of choice are Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn; these all get the word out to promote and gain ground in all avenues of my businesses. Articles and word of mouth are two of the greatest outlets to increase brand awareness.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

The toughest decision I have had to make in the last few months, as has been everyone else’s toughest decision as well, is how to get through Covid. How to survive and understand that at the end of all this craziness there will be a continuation of what was started before lockdown. I used this time to think and grow in how I would achieve my finest outcome from day 1 of freedom. I used these difficult times to grow into the best times still to come.

What do you put your success down to?

I have great friends as a source of support and visa versa, the added smile of having someone special enter my life just at this time, and most of all, to visualize where I wanted to be emotionally and career-wise post-Covid.

How has your business been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Luckily, my business was an essential service, so the Covid situation did not affect my practice. With constant updates from NSW Health and following all the rules, I was able to grow through this outbreak which made me feel so good because I was not only able to help others keep their bodies mobile – but also help them emotionally giving all of them a reason to strive through to freedom.

How have you adapted your business operations in response to COVID-19 and its associated impacts?

I have used a considerable lot of spare time to think, write and plan on all levels, and somewhere along the line, I have succeeded in some of my dreams and goals. At times, I just wanted to fold like so many others, but I found the strength somewhere. Sometimes you need to hang in there in the face of adversity.

What have been some of the most important lessons you have learned because of this pandemic?

Some of the most important lessons I have learned through the pandemic are: there are a lot of people worse off than me, we can’t control life, but we can control and adapt ourselves to this situation, and to take this time to plan, think and try to grow through the emotional breakdowns. I had to plant a thought in my head that I could put my mind to anything I might like to try when I am through this. I’m looking forward to exciting, new journeys.

What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses all over the world?

For all small businesses, I would like to see them all survive in the near future. Unfortunately, this will not always be possible, but some small businesses have been established and grown through this unusual time to total success and achievement. Life itself is a small business in just being a human being, and we all have the self-capability to survive and start to grow again; even though we may get knocked down, we can all support each other in this; how fantastic.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up a new business in this pandemic?

For anyone to start a new business in this pandemic is a testament to the ability of what we can all achieve to grow and succeed in the face of adversity. It is another ultimate level to challenge yourself in everyone’s mind and faith. I take my hat off to everyone who put a physical and mental idea into practice during a pandemic and survived to start a new business into where we all now exist. This is the ultimate achievement and growth to saying there’s nothing anyone cannot do.

Photo Credit: Tony Palliser of Studio 49

Meet The Rising Star Behind The Cover Of The November 2021 Issue Of GEK Magazine: Faith Andersen

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Faith is a 9-year-old beauty queen and lives in Newcastle and travels to Sydney frequently – Her current title is “World Universal Runway Princess.” She’s a very outgoing young lady now who has overcome many of life’s obstacles at such a young age. Her willingness to thrive and achieve the happiest moments out of life for herself and others around her. Faith lives for the finest things in life such as the simplest things such as nature, animals, insects, and all things to do with the environment. She competed in her first pageant with future faces and pulled queen for her age group and received a crown which is what she wished for. She auditioned for Trendy B audition and made it to the Trendy B Kids fashion festival, so she was super stoked. She loves supporting causes and charities as well as helping anyone in need.

GEK magazine recently had a chat with Faith about her journey in pageantry and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the pageant industry?

I started pageantry and runway when I was 8. I am a very adventurous girl who loves to go to the beach, collect shells, and swim.

What do you like most about being a beauty queen?

I love being a beauty queen as taught me to be myself and have self-confidence. I’ve also loved meeting and getting to know all the other beauty queens.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?

My most memorable experience about being in the pageant industry would have to be receiving my first sash and crown.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

The most interesting people I have met during the pageants is Emmy as she is an inspiration and is beautiful and supportive. Also, Jasmine as she has done a lot of pageants, and when I went to watch Mrs. Universal last year when she was competing – she was one that stood out to me. I met her afterward and she was amazing so I want to be just like her.

Is your family supportive of you being in the pageant industry?

My little family is most supportive of what I do. As we all do pageants except my daddy, but he is still so supportive and comes to support me every time. I love doing pageants with my little sister Montarna and looking forward to doing one with someone I look up to the most, which most know as Tiarne.

Who’s your role model?

My role model is my daddy because he has the most caring heart and always puts us before himself and is always there for me when I’m feeling sad, happy, or when I achieve my goals, and even when I don’t He has taught me it doesn’t matter as long as you get out there and give it a go they are proud.

What are your future plans? Inside pageantry or out of it.

When I’m on stage it makes me feel like I’m a princess. My life goal for pageantry is to one day make it to a national level and compete overseas.

Photo Credit: Shutterfly Images