Home sweet home!!

Hi guys!

Wow what a whirlwind it has been since being home from the pageant! I thought I would have time to rest but no, no, no... I love it, I’m a work-a-holic :)
I have been filming for Celebrity Masterchef! What an incredible experience! Since being on the show I have discovered that my passion for food is much greater than before. Cooking is an expression of my personality and I love being challenged in the kitchen. I have grown up surrounded by food; my Dad and Step Mum have a mobile food business and my Step Mum is an amazing cook! My Mum is Ukranian so I have been fortunate in tasting unique flavours! You can see my episode go to air on Channel 10 at 7.30pm on 28th October.

As well as Masterchef I have been busy being Miss Universe Australia. This weekend I flew to Perth to host the Kooey Swimwear fashion show at the Mandurah Boat Show and I also met the WA Miss Universe Australia 2010 finalists! It was so nice to meet the girls and give them some hints and tips about the finals. I told them that preparation and confidence are major factors in success. It’s like studying for an exam; if you study hard and know your content, you will fly through the exam. When you walk out on that stage, own it, remember it’s yours for those few minutes. Why should the judges pick you?... Let them see why!

I got to take a special visit to the Ronald McDonald House last week! I spent some time with the kids and their families and even helped them decorate cupcakes! It was such a nice feeling to see smiles on their faces and tell them some stories. Although I need to scratch up on my cake decorating skills!

Next week I will be going to Melbourne for a fashion shoot to go in the Sun Herald and will also be attending the opening of men’s fashion store – Man to Man. The moment I arrive home I will be departing for Malaysia immediately with Proton Cars to help unveil their brand new car!

Will write again soon! X

The End!

What a feeling. I’m getting goosebumps as I begin to write this. Being on stage in front of the world with ‘Australia’ around my chest is something I will think about every day I am alive. When my name was called for top 15 I could not believe it. Then I was called for top 10 and top 5! I can’t fully explain what I felt. A strange combination f nerviousness, excitement and certainly adrenalin. As I stood on stage with Porta Rico, Venuseula, Dominican Republic and Kosovo so many thoughts and memories were rushing through my head. I thought back to when I first entered my first modelling competition when I was 15 (the Fashion Bash). I felt like that 15 year old all over again, although this time with much more responsibility. I thought back to my childhood and remembered my days at school competing in athletics carnivals. I was in the green house – Maguire. I could almost smell the freshly cut grass of the oval we competed on. My ‘house’ was Australia tonight. What a privlege…
I enjoyed ansering my question despite the nervous reaction at the beginning of my answer. I felt that the judges created a good set of questions very appropriate to the standard of the Miss Universe Pageant.

I want to thank everyone from Australia from the bottom of my heart for all your support, words of wisdom and encouragement. If you watched the live telecast, thankyou, I hope I did you proud. Thankyou to my dad, stepmum, brother, stepsister, boyfriend and friends for coming all the way to support me and wave the best looking flag in the audience! Thankyou to my mum and all my other family and friends who followed my journey from day one. The most amazing 23 days of my life were just lived; I’ve now got ever-lasting friendships, spectacular memories and a great tan! 
Now that I am home my plan is to create Australia’s biggest body change challenge, do some watersports, inspire and teach people, work on TV and radio, finish writing a book and keep smiling... Watch this space!

Lots of love, Rach xxx

Nothing but rehearsals..

Hey guys! Just checking in quickly to say hello and let you know that rehearsals are full on but are going great! I can't believe there is only 3 days to go. My family arrive in the Bahamas tomorrow and I am SO excited!!! Alot of the other girls' families have been slowly arriving and watching our rehearsals. On Sunday morning we will do a full dress rehearsal so we are ready for the evening. Everyone is exhausted but there is not long to go now and we are helping each other keep up the energy!
Wish me luck and I hope you can watch NBC live 8pm ET xxxx Rach

What a week!

Hey guys! Sorry I haven't written in a while. I was planning on getting a blog to you every day but as you can imagine it has been so busy and by the time we get back to our rooms of a night....we are exhausted! Each day here continues to amaze me. The Bahamian people, the Miss Universe staff, the contestants, the country, the Atlantis...everything. Being here is such an honor and I can assure you that I am making the most of every moment.

The highlights to this week were the National Costume Presentation Show, the National Gift Auction, the COVE V.I.P Party, the Presentation Show and today - the Personal Interviews. The presentation of our National Costumes was held at the Rainforest theatre and it was incredible to see so many spectacular costumes from all around the world. Miss Bahamas was behind me in the line of order backstage and I could not stop looking at the amazing detail that had gone into her costume. Tomorrow we will be getting in our costumes again to film the opening for the telecast. I can't wait!
Last night was the Presentation show and it was the first time the judges got to see us on stage and today they met each of us. I felt very relaxed and comfortable and really enjoyed myself! I hope you all got to see the live stream of the Presentation Show on the internet last night and if you missed it you can find it on YouTube! Copy and paste the link below in your web browser:

I will be up at 6am tomorrow morning taping the telecast intro so I am going to get into bed now and I promise to write again soon!

Much love, Rachxxx

Miss Universe August 4 - 8th!!

Day 4
This was probably going to be my only day off throughout the whole competition. As girls were STILL arriving and going through the registration process , many of us were completely finished and only waiting for the others to catch up. I had certainly not packed enough clothes. After breakfast I went through my wardrobe and realised that considering the amount of events and activities we had planned over the next few weeks... I would have gone through all my clothes by the end of week 2. I decided to contact designer Camilla from back home and see if she could send me some more outfits. Camilla had already supplied me with some gorgeous clothes... but I needed more! Thankyou Camilla!!
Day 5
What a day! I mean really, what a day... We visited 6 locations in total... and with 50 girls that’s a pretty good accomplishment in just one day! Today we started getting right into the Bahamian culture and visited the Clifton Heritage National Park, had a warm welcome in the city centre of Nassau, saw a flamingo dance in Ardastra Zoo and dined at the gorgeous Sandals Restaurant. I felt right at home at the zoo; I held a snake and fed the birds... however no crocs wanted to eat me this time which was nice! :) We were all so exhausted by the end of the day but had such an amazing time. My favourite part of the day was talking to Miss Jamaica on the cruise home while watching the sun set and listening to Junkanoo (a Bahamian festival dance).
Day 6
Breakfast call was 7am this morning and afterwards we had an introduction by the supervising team. We were briefed on security and other matters while in and around the resort. As there are so many of us, each day we get broken into groups and go out to do something different. Today I was lucky enough to get up close and personal with some dolphins! Soooo cute!! After that we did some promotional activities around the resort and had an amazing buffet lunch at the Cove!
Day 7
Today we made our way into the city centre of Nassau, Bay street, for some shopping! It was so overwhelming to see the streets of Nassau lined with Bahamian people and tourists with cameras waiting for us. The sun was pelting down on the streets and it would have been 36 degrees easy, however the people still waited with smiles on their faces and beads of sweat dripping down their cheeks. So humble, so enthusiastic and so proud. The Bahamian people truly are one of a kind and I believe that there could not have been any better place to host the 2009 pageant!

Will write again soon guys! Hope everything is going well back home!! xxxx

Miss Universe August 1st - 3rd!

Three plane rides later and not much sleep, I finally arrived in the Bahamas and I can tell you it was certainly worth while! Pictures can say a lot, but nothing compares to the real thing…this place is a dream and I know now why it is called the dream destination spot. When I arrived in Nassau I was escorted to a room on the airport base that is used to officially welcome Kings and Queens. As a welcome I was given a traditional Bahamian dance and offered food and drinks. No customs or luggage carousels for me; I was driven in a stretch limo to Paradise Island where we are to stay for the next 3 weeks – Atlantis Resort! So far everything has gone beyond all my expectations. The people over here are pure, genuine and heavenly. All they want to do is help and if they can’t physically do anything for you like carry your bag, they will stand and smile until you pass. There is a such a magical energy that exists here and it’s so humbling to be here…it doesn’t feel like a competition at all.

Being jet-lagged is a horrible thing, but getting a 15 hour sleep afterwards feels good! Today (Aug 2nd) I had registerations and that meant photographs, interviews, fittings, forms and information. You could tell that the Miss Universe staff had done this a few times before. Every swimsuit had it’s place and there was not a single coat hanger out of place. As each contestant walked into the room she was immediately shown to her place. It was strange to see all the countries names’ you used to look at from a map in geography class walking around the room – only this time wrapped around perfectly toned and beautiful bodies. Argentina, Boliva, Croatia, Singapore, Ukraine…they just kept coming. As I was being measured for a dress I stopped to look in the mirror at my sash. Australia. It gave me goosebumps to see myself wearing the name of my country….the best place on earth. I still couldn’t believe I was here representing my entire nation amungst every other beautiful person in the room. My measurements were taken and it was time for me to sit down for make-up and hair.
When I got to my room that evening I met my room mate – Miss USA Kristen Dalton!! I feel so privledged to be rooming with Kristen, she is such an amazing person and full of life!

I managed to finish most of the registeration process yesterday so today (Aug 3rd) all I have to do is hand in my National Costume and the picture that accompanies it. Once I do this I have the rest of the day off. I figured that the next 21 days are going to be long and tiring so I spend every moment I can resting my body. I actually slept for most of the day – I was probably still getting used to the time difference. I also used this time to do a bit of pilates and yoga in my room. We are not allowed to use the gym or wander around the hotel alone so it’s lucky I packed my pilates band and skipping rope haha! I went back down to the registeration room with my contestant supervisor for lunch and there were a fresh set of faces wondering around. Some countries I had not even spoken about before. Each had their own unique style and sparkle.

My kicking WILL improve!

On Thursday night I appeared on the Footy Show! What a fun, crazy and exhilarating experience!! I first appeared playing celebrity heads with Scotty Prince, Andrew Simons and comedian Ahn Do... I was "Prince Charles" and thanks to Andrew Simons' mind blank on his celebrity - Jen Hawkins, I took first place! (I won't go in detail about hints from Fatty haha). I took part in everything from Packs VS Backs quiz to crab racing and even witnessed a ...not so successful marriage proposal live on stage! I will leave whether or not the proposal was real to you! I'm still trying to work it out myself..!! (Awkward)

The most enjoyable, yet embarrassing, part was having a go at the 'So you think you can play' challenge! Scotty Prince gave me a few tips on kicking and catching and I can tell you it is much harder than it looks!! I think I scored around 75 points out of 100 in the end, but it was my dive that saved the day! No scratches thank goodness.... When I get back from the Bahamas I promise to brush up on my footy skills! See the video below for a laugh...

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