Jessie Kaur dispels the assumption that beauty pageants bring shame on families

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Born in Queensland, Jessie Kaur grew up in the small town of Innisfail. She went on to study beauty therapy and worked in two different clinics while also setting up her own company. Alongside, Kaur did modelling and fashion shows and even won the Harvest Queen of her town in 2005. All that stopped once she got married. She moved to Melbourne about five years ago juggling her roles as a beauty therapist, homemaker and mother to her eight-year-old daughter.

Last year, Kaur decided to get back to pageantry after a ten-year hiatus from the world of glamour and fashion. This March, Kaur will be off to the Gold Coast to take part in the Australian Galaxy Pageant. The Australian Galaxy Pageant 2020 has three categories – Miss Galaxy, Ms Galaxy, Mrs Galaxy. The winners will go on to represent Australia at the annual Galaxy International Pageant which will be held in Chicago, USA. In conversation with Jessie Kaur.

Tell us a bit more about the pageant.
There are heaps of pageants in Australia but Australian Galaxy Pageant stood out to me because I got a lot of good feedback and many of my friends have taken part in it. Many contestants who have not won in the past have been re-entering, and the fact that they are willing to go back and keep on trying speaks a lot about the show.

Run us through the pageant. What happens from the beginning to the end?
We arrive on March 4 and have a pre-workshop, followed by an orientation and interview session before a judging panel. Next will be the swimwear round which will be off stage and judged the day before our finals. On the final day we have two rounds – fashion wear and gown wear.

How did you prepare yourself?
My preparation has been a little slow because I am working two jobs, but I do have a great support of friends and families. I have a good friend in my stylist who has been my backbone. There have been times when I said ‘I can’t do this’ but she has picked me up and showed me why I am doing this and why I am here.

Why did you decide to enter a pageant after ten years?
It has always been a passion, which was pushed aside because of my professional and personal obligations. However, the feeling comes back when you know the time is right and you say ‘OK I got to do something for me now’. I have taken care of my family and done everything and now I need to do something that gives me joy. I don’t want a career out of it, if that happens it would be perfect, but it’s my passion – something I love and enjoy. So, this is my unwinding time when I do these fashion shows.

What message do you want to promote with other women from South Asian backgrounds?
I would say just go for it. When you are a wife or a mother, everyone thinks this is what you were meant to do. Especially for Punjabis, it is generally assumed that you are bringing shame to the family when you do something like this. But you are not harming anyone and when you have the support of your husband or family, you should not care about anyone else. Once you take that step, people start looking up to you which is good. After getting married, people do neglect their passion and oftentimes are told ‘you are too old for this’. There is no age limit. Do whatever makes you happy.

What are you most looking forward to in the future?
I just want a nice, stable, happy future for my little one. I would love her to do pageants, She is a people’s person but I want to build her confidence from a young age and be able to stand up in front of people and talk. That’s where I lack. I want to set a good example.

(As told to G’day India)