Holding the prestigious title of Miss Australia International, Jessica Martini wants to share her experiences and be an inspiration to someone who thought about giving up, or thought they weren't good enough. 'After all there is no greater gift than inspiring, encouraging and empowering others to achieve their dreams', says Jessica.
Jessica hasn't been involved in the Pageant world very long, and entered her first pageant back in 2012 (24years old) and at that time she didn’t really know or understand who she was as a person or why in fact she wanted to enter a pageant. She decided to submit her application for that particular pageant system 'just because' and never thought anything would ever come from it. After unexpectedly receiving a place as a State and National finalist, Jessica committed herself to that organisation and lived and breathed everything they stood for. She put so much pressure on herself to win, and when that moment didn’t happen for her, she was confused, heartbroken and devastated. At that particular time, Jessica couldn’t understand why she didn’t win, because in her mind she believed she did everything right, and she did everything the organisation expected of her.
When Jessica looks back at that moment, she understands why she didn’t achieve her goal, it was due to a whole bunch of reasons from the way she presented herself, not knowing how to share herself with the judges, to not really understanding who she was as a person. Jessica says 'sometimes we can be blinded by our own thoughts and are quick to make judgement and jump to conclusions without really thinking or trying to understand the situation'. All the little things add up to make the big thing, and from every pageant Jessica entered after that, she grew as a person and just absorbed and learnt everything she possibly could. Jessica never gave up on her dream, she knew she was destined for more and God's plan for her was much greater, so she kept going, and kept discovering herself along the way.
In 2014 (26years old) Jessica's dream became a reality when she won her first Australian National title. All that hard work, perseverance and dedication was redeemed, and she finally got her moment, and what a joyous and memorable moment it was. With that title Jessica travelled to the USA to represent Australia on the world stage, which was an overwhelming prospect for her as she had never travelled overseas before. Jessica say's 'I had no idea what to expect competing on an international level and to be honest I didn’t really know what to do to prepare myself for it as everything seemed to happen so quickly'.
Jessica says that even though she was quite overwhelmed, her time over in the USA was an amazing experience, one of the best parts of pageantry is learning about cultural differences and of course the life long friendships you make with girls all around the world. Jessica says she learnt so much about herself as a person on that two week trip and also what she should have done to prepare herself better to stand out from the rest.
After Jessica returned home, she said, 'I had this feeling of dissatisfaction haunting me because I didn’t do as well as I hoped to on the world stage'. 'It would play on my mind daily, and I just couldn't shake the feeling'. 'The thoughts of 'What if I only I did this' or 'If only i did that' just re-ran on my mind over and over again'. After Jessica handed her title over 7 months later, she said she still had this deep desire of unfinished business... she says, 'I had a feeling in my heart that God's journey with me wasn’t over and he had much bigger plans for me'.
'I knew I had to compete again, and that my Pageant journey wasn't over because I would dream about it almost every night'. 'Even though my heart desired this so much, I had so many things going through my mind that made me hesitant'. Jessica says this was a difficult decision to make, because although she wanted to continue her journey and share her story, values, and philanthropy work, She was frightened of failing. After building her public profile, she would have so many more eyes watching her every move, all the girls she mentored would be watching her to see ‘how it’s done’, and then she said 'there was the thoughts of ‘What would people say about me?’ 'Would people just see me as a ‘crown chaser’? 'Will people think I’m full of myself?'... It was quite overwhelming processing all these thoughts, but after some restless nights thinking everything over, my thoughts went back to what I believe in and what I value. I knew I had to do this for me, and it didn’t matter what anyone thought, because this was my journey and not theirs. I knew I had to respect my journey and not come from a place of judgement.'
So with Jessica's motivation and aspirations instilled within her, she began researching some pageants, and came across the Australian International Pageants system. Jessica said she quickly felt a connection with our organization because of the values we stand by. 'I loved the fact that delegates could select their charity of choice to represent and that the pageant emphasised the accomplishments, societal contributions and inner beauty of its delegates' .'It was so important to me to find a system that I could invest my heart and soul into, because this was going to be a big journey for me and I needed to feel connected', said Jessica. Selecting a platform to represent came easy to Jessica, with her family's history of breast cancer, and herself being an ambassador for the Cancer Council Victoria, she knew straight away that they were the charity she wanted to represent and felt positive and excited about beginning her journey as a Miss Australia International 2016 Finalist.
Jessica says 'Throughout my journey as a finalist, everything just felt right'. The fear of failing had disappeared because she knew her goal, she had a plan of action, and she was focused. Jessica tells us that, she had never prepared as much as she did for a pageant before, because it was different this time. It wasn't about crossing something off her 'to do list' it was a personal goal, and she wanted to compete with excellence.
Throughout the Australia International Pageants National finals, Jessica says, 'I felt so content in myself and that was because I knew I had done everything I wanted to do, and I felt as though I had already become a winner because I had no more regret'. 'I was proud of myself for having the courage to compete again, and I knew I didn't need a crown to validate the work I had done'. 'The rest was in God's hands, and whatever the path I was destined to go down, I would understand that would be the right path for me'.
'When my name was announced as the winner of Miss Australia International 2016, tears just began to fall from my eyes, the sense of accomplishment, the pride, and thankfulness that overcomes you is like no other feeling'. Jessica says, she was truly proud of herself and that her heart was beating with pure joy and happiness. Jessica says she is so excited and honoured to be heading to the USA in July 2016 to compete on the International stage and have her second chance. 'I have already set myself a new goal and I know I have the ability to accomplish this, and no one can compromise my faith and drive to do so' says Jessica.
So the moral of Jessica's story is, if she had not listened to her heart, or trusted her dreams, she would have never taken the leap to compete in the Miss Australia International Pageant, or healed herself of the regret she was carrying. Jessica says, 'I want to encourage and inspire anyone who has the feeling of unfinished business or regret, whether it's in Pageantry or whatever the journey may be and whatever your story represents, you need to listen to your heart, push those fears aside and give yourself the chance to empower yourself and inspire someone else in the process.' After all, that's what we're here for, to lift up, encourage, inspire and make a difference to someone else's life.
Never give up! Jessica Martini - Miss Australia International 2016.