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...

July 22nd

Yesterday I was in Melbourne for my final dress fitting at Cappellazzo Couture, who is creating my evening gown for Miss Universe! Aside from the freezing cold, I had such a good time, especially chatting with the guys at NOVA! Not too sure about the 'pick-up' attemp from Ash...but I will give him 10 for his effort :)

My dress is finally complete and I think it’s absolutely amazing. Thank you to Sonia Cappellazzo for her time and effort throughout the past 3 months and fingers crossed there are no wardrobe malfunctions come August 23rd!!

When I got back to Sydney in the evening I had the Miss World Australia 2009 Pyjama Party at Star City Casino Hotel to attend! I went with my sister Chloe and chatted with Ern McNaught and had a fun night eating cheese and fairy floss! Wes Carr gave a live performance ...WOAHHH!!!

The following day...

The following day I had another two important appointments, this time with yoga instructor Charlotte Dodson and personal trainer Oscar! :) Two amazing people with endless energy! Charlotte are helping me get into tip top shape for the pageant in 2 weeks time and we had a bit of fun along the way...

I love to skip so I made sure we got some quality jump-rope time in!

Thursday July 16th

As the Miss Universe Pageant gets closer and closer, my schedule gets busier and busier! That includes attending events and local affairs, charity work and appointments. Speaking of appointments I had two today! First was with Dee from the Clear Skin Clinic in Double Bay and the other was with dentist David Carr also in Double Bay, Sydney. Thank goodness I am in the hands of absolute professionals as I make my way to the Bahamas! I’ve now got my sister going to see Dee at the Clear Skin Clinic and I’m still undecided about the happy gas in the chair...

Thanks guys I owe you!!

Don't let the picture in the dentist creep you out! xx

My 21st birthday week!

I spent the past week in Townsville celebrating my 21st birthday! I had such an amazing week and loved spending the time with my family and friends! Sunny and 27 degrees. So much for winter!! :)

While I was in Townsville I had a photo shoot with Townsville Eye magazine, went to see the V8 supercars where I met Jamie Whincup himself and also had a few suprises waiting for me! The biggest suprise of all was pulling into the Army Logistic Training Centre Maritime Wing at Ross Island and having an entire army unit sing 'Happy Birthday' to me!! Soon after I jumped aboard an LCM8 landing craft and was skipper for the day! Thanks to Major Dave and Mum for organising such a great outing. I also launched www.rachaelfinch.com on my birthday which is very exciting! Make sure to visit.

Thankyou to the Consortium for hosting a great Saturday night for me and Team Vodafone for a great day at the V8's! Most certainly a birthday I will never forget...

Thought I'd share my week with you:
Wednesday 8th (my official day!!) - Birthday lunch at La Porchetta restaurant with Mum and friends. I had my first plate
signing! Home that evening for a delicious lamb roast for dinner with Dad, Janelle and the family!

Thursday 9th - Photo shoot with Townsville Eye Magazine and a magnificant evening with my best friends. Mwah! It was so good to catch up and talk about boys ;)

Friday 10th - Birthday suprise at the Army training centre! I think I may have a career as a skipper in the future!

Saturday 11th - Thanks to Team Vodafone, I got to attend the V8 supercar event! I sat inside the winning car in the Pit lane and met Jamie Whincup! Later I enjoyed a romantic evening with Angus and then off to the Consortium for a cocktail!

Sunday 12th - Flew back to Sydney. Note: DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE!!! xx

July 2nd

I spent the last 3 days in Perth and had such a good time! I had never been to Perth before and I should tell you… if you’re deciding whether to go or not and you live on the east coast of Australia you need to be sure. The flight is just under 6 hours and more if you live further up north! I felt like I was on an international trip minus the customs and long lines! It was all worth it though ☺

I met with designer Ruth Tarvydas and her fabulous team when I arrived and got to see my National Costume! I had my first official fitting and unknown to the Perth audience before Wednesday evening, I revealed the costume on stage! The gown is absolutely stunning in my eyes and I will reveal more after the official National Costume Launch happens in Melbourne along with the unveiling of my evening gown by Sonia Cappellazzo, to be held at the Park Hyatt.

While I was in Perth I took a visit to the Teen Ward at Princess Margaret Hospital and had a chat to some very inspiring kids! It's such an incredible feeling when you see someone suffering, smiling back at you..

I also chatted with Em and Sam from 92.9 and learnt that eating meat pies and drinking chocolate milk for brekky is better than it sounds!! Check out the video below and I give you permission to laugh at me...

Thanks to Em and Sam from 92.9, Ruth Tarvydas and her team, Troy and Sophia from Toy Box and all the Perth community for such a great time! I can't wait to come back (for longer next time) xx

Townsville Homecoming!

What a week!!!! I departed Sydney on the 18th June and spent the following 6 days in Townsville and on Magnetic Island for my official homecoming. My schedule went a little something like this:

10.30am - Arrive airport and travel to Jupiter's Casino - check in.
11am - Pick up cars from Proton (Bulletin to shoot story)
11.30 - 12.15pm : Visit Townsville Children's Hospital
2 - 3.30pm: Afternoon Tea at the Council Chambers.
6:30pm: VIP Cocktail Party at Jupiter's Casino

7.45am - Live radio interview with Townsville's 106.3
8.30am - Live cross with Jana in the Prize Patrol!
10am - Filming with the Today Show; views of Townsville, school visit, lunch with Mum and Dave, exploring Townsville...
6pm - VIP event at Jupiter's Casino - V8 Supercar Function. Hosting the Grid Girl Model Search!

Saturday -
9.30am - Water skiing on Ross River with the Townsville Water Ski Club!!
1.30pm - Family BBQ
7pm - VIP guest in the Jupiters Box at the Cowboys' home game (presented to the crowd pre game)

Sunday -
Travel to Magnetic Island for Scuba Diving, Sky Diving and exclusive photo shoot as well as Monday..

Tuesday - depart for Airport and back to Sydney!

I would personally like to thank all the wonderful people involved in making this homecoming a success! To the team from Sydney for all their hard work and preparation and to all the people in the Townsville community for providing your assistance, support and love! I had such an amazing time and if you missed anything you can see it all below...

I will always call Townsville home! And my accent will never change ;)

June 17th

Today I had a great make-up lesson with Memo at Gorgeous Cosmetics on Oxford St in Sydney. Memo is so full of energy and certainly has a lot of knowledge on the beauty pageant world! He taught me the basics in make-up and even gave me a demo on 'day make-up'. The products from Gorgeous Cosmetics are absolutely beautiful and I am having so much fun experimenting with them all :) My favourite by far is the liquid foundation. It goes on so easy and lasts all day!

June 9th

Today was very exciting! The Today Show covered parts of my preparation toward the Miss Universe finals in the Bahamas. In the morning we began with an etiquette and deportment class where I learnt what to do (and what not to do) when in the social arena. For lunch I caught up with aurthor of Girlosophy Anthea Paul and 2003 Miss Universe Australia Ashlea Talbot! Toward the afternoon we took a trip to Camilla's store at Bondi Beach and played dress ups for the camera. It was such a busy day, but so much fun! It really gave me a taste of what the life would be like as Miss Universe!

You can view the finished product right here!

June 6th

Today I travelled to Port Macquarie with Cassegrain Wines to raise money for the Koala Hospital and learn all about the winery!

June 4th

Today I got to attend one of the 30 days of Health and Well-being seminars and spoke to Women's Day beauty editor, Mary Zavaglia! The seminar was held in Sydney's 54 Park street and taught people how to achieve youthful, radiant skin while using QV Skincare products. Dermatologists Dr Lim and Dr Yap were at the seminar to give us some more information on looking after our skin and there were some lovely, healthy sandwiches on arrival!

To watch my interview with Mary Zavaglia (beauty editor of Women's Day magazine) see the link beow:

You can also learn more about QV Skincare at their website www.qvface.com.au AMAZING STUFF!! They do the best lip balm :)

May 29th

This morning I had a photo shoot with a brilliant fashion photographer - Yatzek. His wife Rose is an amazing hair and make-up artist and together they work together creating spectacular work. The aim of the shoot today was to get some pictures for the Miss Universe pageant that were both glamour and sexy. I had such a good time working with Yatzek and Rose and a big thank you to Sonia Cappellazzo and Ruth Tarvydas for supplying me with some gorgeous gowns throughout the day.

In the evening I was lucky enough to judge the QV Skincare male model search! There were about 15 contestants all vying for the chance to win an international modelling contract and become the next big thing. Every guy did such a great job...it takes a lot of confidence to get up on stage in front of a crowd and they all did it so easy. I was looking for confidence, a smile, personality and that 'X-factor' when they entered the catwalk. When a model captivates you by their presence you know there's something special about them.

May 28th

Today I flew to Mebourne to get some practical QV Skincare training! I learnt all about blogging, twitter, facebook and more! As part of my ambassador role for QV Skincare, I need to learn all about online social networking and the girls at Code Name Max are helping do just that! Both Shellie and Michelle are such a fabulous duo and I want to thank them for all their time and effort in assisting in my learning process!
If you were to ask me a couple of years ago about online social networking I would have probably tried to change the topic. It was all a little too confusing for me and I would much prefer to get in contact with people the old fashioned way and meet for lunch or a coffee. Or what happened to hand writing letters and delivering in person?! Nevertheless as I learnt more and more I have realised that this craze is fantastic and it's truly taking over the way we communicate in all fields. Small businesses and governments are using social networking sites to spread their messages and promote their brands, now even protesters in certain countries are using these means of communication!

I wonder how my children will keep in touch with their friends...

Back to my tweet...

May 21st

It was well overdue for me.... I needed to get my wisdom teeth out desperately and I made the wise move on this day! I was admitted to the Prince of Whales Private Hospital at about 10am and spent 3 hours in surgery. If you need to get your wisdom teeth out make sure you have the following: ice packs and lots of pillows!

Fortunately I don't have any pictures to show you from this event but I can tell you that as painful as it was, it was certainly worth while. I spent the first two days doing nothing but laying in bed and eating soup, then on the third day I flew to Queensland to spend some time with my family and get some TLC :)

Overall, it took me about 5 days to recover and I was suprised how quickly I was eating roast lamb for dinner again!

May 16th

On May 16th I was lucky enough to be invited by QV Skincare and the Melbourne Football Club to attend the President’s luncheon and watch my first live AFL game! Thankyou for such an awesome day!!

the next morning..

The following day I spoke with Pete and Myf on Melbourne’s Triple M and had my official QV Skincare Ambassador training! After lunch I shot with 2 Melbourne Demon stars in the lead up for tomorrow’s game! In the evening an official 'Welcome to Melbourne" party was held for me at Baroq House.

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