The search to find the next Miss Universe Australia is underway, with National finalists preparing to touch down in Melbourne later this month ahead of the national finals held at the Sofitel on Collins June 28.
We are chatting with Dominique Chehade, from SA who will be competing for the 2018 title of Miss Universe Australia.
So why don’t you tell our readers a little about yourself?
My name is Dominique Chehade, I am 22 years old, and I reside in Adelaide, South Australia. I have just completed my Double Degree in Law and Business (Economics, Trade and Finance) at the University of South Australia. I have four amazing siblings, and the most incredible parents- all who I am extremely close with. I have three nephews who I see daily and love dearly! My hobbies include exercising, travelling, reading, and spending quality time with family and friends.
So you’ve just returned from the Miss Universe Finalists trip to the Amazing Allia Hotels in Bali… How was the experience?
The MUA National Finals Trip to the Alila Hotels in Bali was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. All 32 contestants felt truly honoured and blessed to be apart of such a wonderful trip. We had the opportunity to get to know one another face-to-face, to get to know the staff and the film crew, all while experiencing some of the most extravagant parts of the island. We stayed at some of the most lavish hotels and resorts in Bali and were treated with generosity and the utmost respect from everyone we encountered, wherever we went. I was able to recognise the lengths Troy and Sophia – the directors of MUA- along with the whole Pink Tank Events Team went to, to make the trip so enjoyable, and to ensure that we took the most out of the experience that we possibly could.
We know there was an amazing program of things for you all, what was your highlight?
Looking back on the trip, there were a few parts that were a particular stand out to me. The walking workshop with Thelma Rodriguez, former Miss Nicaragua, was particularly impressive. Thelma had us all speechless- she walked so effortlessly but with elegance and attitude. How is that even possible?? I was able to take on board a lot from her workshop and have been working on finessing my catwalk with her tips! Another highlight was the visit from the Sari Hati children. I found it so inspiring to see the hope in the children’s eyes, and the enjoyment in their faces, despite all the challenges and rejectment they face on a daily basis. The time and effort put in by the owner and volunteers in helping these special needs children was so beautiful to see. They are made to feel valued and appreciated.
So now you’re home and having undergone the best prep we can think of you know The Sun, surf and Bali …. it’s not long till the national finals in Melb… how are you feeling in the lead-up and what sort of preparation are you doing, before finals week commences?
In the next few weeks, I’ll be focusing on two main aspects of the Final – my walk and Q&A. I’ll be practising walking, and I’ll be reading a lot, ensuring I am across all the current political and social issues. It’s also very important for me to maintain a healthy lifestyle which means lots of beauty sleep, a healthy diet and regular exercise. Staying in routine is vital for me! I’m feeling very excited for the whole week in Melbourne and what it will entail. I can’t wait to see all of the contestants; it’s going to be like Bali all over again! When the competition is over, if I feel like I could have done more to reap the benefits the opportunity had to offer, I’d have let myself, and all those who have supported me on this journey down, so it is extremely important for me to prepare myself well and give it my all.
With so many of you all bringing an individual flair to the competition, what do you think will set you apart from the other contestants?
There are 32 uniquely beautiful and talented girls competing for the title of MUA. It is hard to say whether the following sets me apart because I do not know all of the contestants on a personal level, however, I will talk about what I admire about myself. I am proud to be well-balanced. I feel as though I have a good, strong connection between my mind, my body and my soul. To elaborate-
Mind – I am always striving for the best academically.
Body – I believe my body is a temple and I am cautious of what I put into it, and ensure I am always treating it well.
Soul – I believe having a good soul makes me compassionate and helps me connect deeply with other people. I admire how grounded I am. I hold my values, my beliefs and my faith- all instilled in me from a young age- close to my heart and would never let anything compromise that.
Speaking of being unique we all have different motivations, what is something that motivates you daily or you would say is your passion?
God motivates me daily. I have been blessed with an incredibly privileged life. I am surrounded by people who are compassionate, respectful and hard-working- people who motivate me to be the best version of myself every single day. I am healthy, well educated and very well travelled. I am forever appreciative and grateful of all that I have been given in this life and feel as though I have an obligation, or a calling, to contribute to the greater good in the world. This competition has provided me with a platform to use my skills, my knowledge, and my compassion to help those in need.
What is something people might find interesting about yourself?
I am absolutely petrified of dogs!
Where is your favourite place in the world to wind down and relax?
As I have said previously, I am well-travelled. My family heritage is Lebanese, and I have been fortunate enough to visit Lebanon multiple times. The peace and tranquillity in feel when I visit the mountains of Lebanon is indescribable. There is so much sacredness that I feel just breathing in the air. Another place I really wind down is at the beach. Wherever there is a beach, I feel content, calm and whole. Henley Beach in South Australia is like home to me. I like to go for a stroll or sit on the sand, read a novel and feel the serenity.
The Miss Universe program has a long and proud history and focuses on helping women become the best versions of themselves, how do you think your experience so far will help move you forward in life?
I have always viewed myself as being relatively confident. I’ve always believed in my ability to be the best version of myself. I am proud of who I am, and what I stand for. In a world where everyone is telling you who you should be, it is so important to stay true to yourself. This competition has reinforced that for me. It has reinforced the type of woman I am and what is important to me. There will be times that I will be challenged, or required to step out of my comfort zone, during MUA and even past the competition, and I really can recognise and appreciate the importance of staying true to myself to become successful and earn respect. People respond to authenticity.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
I had my best friend help me film one of the video challenges required for the competition. We were filming in an alley off Rundle Mall (our city centre). On the 193943rd take, out of nowhere comes a thief being chased by security. The whole saga was caught on my camera and my reaction was priceless as he bolted past me!
Family Friends Water Coffee Potatoes (really just hot chips!)
How would your closest friend describe you?
Funnily enough, I actually messaged my closest friends and asked them this question. The most common attributes they used to describe me were generous, compassionate, genuine, humble, kind, honest, real, loyal, trustworthy, bubbly, vivacious, strong, determined, intelligent, gifted and thoughtful.
What is your view on Miss America ditching the Swimsuit Component of their Beauty Pageant?
This is a very controversial issue in the media at the moment. To enter into a Beauty Pageant, and to be a potential candidate to take out the title, I think it is extremely important to be comfortable in your own skin. Just looking across the 32 finalists in MUA this year, we all have completely different builds, shapes etc, but are all equally beautiful. I don’t feel like there is any ‘frame’ you have to strive to fit. It is all about embracing who you are and being confident in your own skin. I also believe this swimsuit component of the competition is a huge motivator from when you first enter to look your best by the final. By best, I mean your fittest, healthiest self. It is such an enjoyable part of the competition, where the contestants get to showcase all their hard work, and can be proud of their bodies. I am also of the opinion that it is important to get the message across that you physically look healthy. With only an evening wear component, this can easily be mistaken as just being too skinny.