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Featured Women

Meet Suzi Dent: Mrs. Earth Australia Pageant Winner 2017

Recently, we came across an individual we felt our readers just had to meet. Suzi Dent is the Mrs. Earth Australia pageant winner, 2017. She is so full of enthusiasm, positive energy and just plain fun – we find her story truly inspiring and hope you do too.

I understand being in pageants was not something you’d done in the past – or even something to which you aspired. How did you decide to participate?

pageant winnerIn August 2016 I wasn’t in a great personal space. I did some soul searching and thought about what new horizons I wanted to tackle. There was an element of “sameness” in my life that I needed to change for myself, my career and my marriage. I’m a big believer in listening to the messages that life sends us. When Danielle Marsh, the director of the Ms./Mrs. Earth Australia pageant contacted me about competing, well, it was so far out of left field that I had to pay attention! One of the things I do know to be true about this life journey, is that life will throw situations in your path that will change your destiny.

Tell us about the charity the pageant supports – Soles4Souls

I learned that there are people on our planet who don’t have any shoes! Something we often take for granted. They can’t go to work and earn money to support their families and children can’t go to school and get an education.

Shoes and fashion are the second biggest cause of pollution on our planet. Soles4Souls collect our new and slightly used shoes to give to those who have none. Within 10 minutes of learning about this great charity, I had this idea in my head that involved a marketing awareness campaign involving Bartercard Australia and I knew that life wanted me to change my ways and get outside of my clothing comfort zone and become a pageant queen, to educate others and spread the word about Soles4Souls, so I have jumped on to my new life path with both feet!

I understand you have “frock fear?”

I am a tomboy. Even though as a hair and makeup artist I make women look beautiful for a living, which I love – and it seems like a glamourous world – I spend my life in shorts and runners. Dressing for practicality and comfort has been my normal for decades! Most women won’t be able to relate to this as they have no problem wearing dresses. However, I was raised with a very strict moral dress code, where sleeveless clothes were never worn and flashing a bra strap in public was a complete no-no! Whenever I tried on a dress I felt exposed, insecure and really uncomfortable.

Six weeks ago I did my first hosting gig as the Mrs. Earth Australia pageant winner at the Miss Glitz national beauty pageant finals and I wore a tight fitting sleeveless gown, My first time out in public sleeveless! At 55! I am grateful to be able to experience my new found body confidence and self acceptance that has come with fully embracing my new life path!

What did your family think of this new direction in your life?

Don, my husband and best friend of 26 years, and our 15-year-old son, Jack, are thrilled for me. It has changed the narrative of my marriage. My husband has been struggling with depression for the past 5 years and has been stuck in the same mind set, which was often a negative one. Embracing the pageant world and being able to bring something new and positive into our lives with my work for Soles4Souls has changed his mindset and our family dynamic for the better. He is supportive of my journey and the positive self esteem changes I have been going through – he loves the new dress-wearing me! Don has also scored brownie points from his mates for being married to a Mrs. Australia Earth Beauty Queen!

At PRiME, we want to amplify the conversation about the way women over 50 are represented in the fashion industry, in business and LIFE. You express a similar message.

My personal platform is Women Aging Fearlessly. I am proudly representing the over fifties woman. Let’s face it, 55 years young is pretty old to be competing in my first beauty pageant!  I am hoping to inspire other women to stop paying attention to their age number and to be fearless about making changes in their lives! Advertisers should be using the over 50s who look fabulous – and there are lots of them out there! Pre and post menopausal women can often feel invisible and overlooked, coupled with often negative self talk.

We live in an ageist society and it’s time to let women over fifty know that they can change their lives. Age is a state of mind. Women age themselves out of life with a mental attitude. If you continually say to yourself,”I’m old,” then you will be old! I feel joyous, young and in the prime of my life; and at 55 I want to help other women celebrate and embrace being over 50, too.

What sort of response are you getting to your message?

I’m getting a great response to my message, which is for both women and men. Our thoughts and our words are very powerful. If people can make changes in their personal self-aging talk and be more aware of their thoughts and how they are programmed into our everyday speech, maybe some mental blocks will clear.

I’m a natural beauty, not a user of botox and fillers, and try to embrace a healthy mind and body, with regular exercise and good nutrition. I believe women shouldn’t feel that to be accepted into society and perceived as beautiful they need to have unlined skin. I believe that a positive aging mindset is the most powerful “aging gracefully” tool that one needs.

Photo by Mrs Earth 2017 official photographer Joe Pier.

What’s next for your pageant career? 

I will be representing Australia in Las Vegas on June 6, 2017, competing against 36 other women from around the world for the title of Mrs. Earth – so no pressure! Winning the world title of Mrs. Earth would be very cool and enable me to talk to more people about Soles4Souls and inspire other women to do something completely different with their lives. I am just me, not a model or anyone special and I get to represent all the other everyday women just like me. Being the Mrs. Earth Australia pageant winner was a huge honour. Even if I don’t win the big crown, I will continue to support the charity Soles4Souls.

What are your plans following the pageant?

I have a legacy project for 2017 that I am very excited about. I call it my GEM initiative or Generational Education Method. My plan is to introduce a shoe drive to every school in the country so it becomes the charity that all schools support. I want to encourage schoolchildren to donate their shoes knowing that somewhere in the world, their shoes will help save a child’s life. They will go home and teach their parents. I’m relying on the competitiveness of school mums and anticipating that the yearly shoe drives will be a huge success!

Lastly, what would you tell women who are looking at their lives and thinking, “Well, this is it.”

I would like to say, without sounding like a wanker, to think the change you want to see. Think the thoughts, focus on what you would like to do or a goal you would like to achieve. Don’t let an aging mindset get in your way. Really believe that you can accomplish it and achieve it. When you give of yourself and your time to others, life will pay you back – and I don’t mean financially.

There are many places where you can be of help in society and you will meet some amazing people along the way. One of the things I do know to be true about this life journey that we are all on, is that life will send you journeys to go on and it will throw situations in your path that will change your destiny.

How can we support you?

I would love some Facebook sharing help from your readers! As part of the pageant criteria, we each had to make a two minute video about ourselves. It would be awesome if your readers could share that so Australia can get to know who is representing them at the Mrs. Earth pageant and learn all about Soles4Souls! To watch the livestreaming of the pageant, the virtual ticket link is available at www.mrsearthpageant.com You can also check out more about me on my new website www.mrsearthaustralia.com.au

If you’ve enjoyed our discussion with Suzi Dent, Mrs. Australia pageant winner, please read about some of our other featured women.

UPDATE

Prime Women want to congratulate Suzi on taking third place at the Mrs. Earth 2017 pageant in Las Vegas!

Photo by Mrs Earth 2017 official photographer Joe Pier.

Suzi, 55, also beat out beauties from 36 countries at the Southpoint Resort and Spa to claim the title of Mrs. Earth Health 2017 – a title awarded to the delegate who best represents a positive image for all women, and a healthy mind, body and spiritual realm, regardless of their size or age.

“I woke up this morning, body aching and feeling on top of the world! I just came third for Australia in an international beauty pageant!” said Suzi.

“Apparently I beat women who won Miss World! Just goes to show that personality and ‘being real’ really do count!”

“As the reigning Mrs Earth Health 2017, I aim to promote mental, physical, and emotional awareness by showing that I’m comfortable in my own skin, and in a healthy mind, body and spirit at all times.”

Join us in wishing her well.

Now, what are you going to do that’s outside of your comfort zone?

Above left: Suzi being crowned by outgoing Mrs Earth International 2016 People’s Choice winner, Maadhuri R. Sharma from India.

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