Chipping Norton resident Madeline Safar was crowned as Australia’s Teen Queen 2018 on September 21 in a memorable ceremony at the Marriott in Surfers Paradise.
The 13-year-old raised the most funds for her charity of choice Mini Vinnies and is the first NSW representative to win the title, after topping the Most Elegant and Beach Babe categories.
Contestants were encouraged to fundraise for a charity of choice and were judged across five categories including Fun Fashion, Beach Babe, Evening Gown, Interview and Photogenic.
We spoke to Australia’s Teen Queen in a local exclusive interview where she spoke about the big moment.
“It was a surprise because it was my first pageant and the main reason I entered the pageant was wanting to gain confidence,” Madeline said.
“I just remember feeling really excited because it’ll give me more opportunities to help my community.
“For me the ultimate highlights include being made ambassador for Mini Vinnies and the appearances I’ll do to raise funds, such as, City to Surf and visiting the Children’s Hospital.”
She said it was her decision to enter the pageant after her friend entered one.
“At first I felt nervous about everything I did because it was my first time. I didn’t really know how it worked until the workshop the Tuesday before the pageant. We went through the process and the type of questions they might ask.”
We asked her if she felt exposed by putting her body on public display at a young age.
“I didn’t mind putting my body out there, it didn’t bother me at all. Because I don’t have self doubts about that. I’ve been bullied but I didn’t get bullied about the way I looked. I’ve been dancing since I was two and I was bullied about that and my personality.
“They used to say I wasn’t a good dancer and that I was stuck up but that’s not me at all. The bullying caused stress and it affected my studies because it clouded my head but my family helped me to get through it and so did the pageant.”
The Teen Queen who’s half Palestinian and half Uruguay said she has no regrets.
“The pageant helped me to grow as a person and become stronger. It taught me not worry about what other people have said about me.The pageant director, Lucinda, was a really nice person and I’m so happy to have her as a mentor.”
Her message to other teenagers is to pursue their dreams.
“I used to be self conscious about things like my braces because I’d get teased about them but being different is a good thing. Embrace your differences and continue to work hard at what you love.”
Madeline’s mother Christina Safar said she was very proud of daughter. However, she said the pageant was quite the surprise.
“Initially, I wasn’t aware my daughter entered a pageant,” Mrs Safar said. “I first found out about it when she told me she was a finalist so I had a look into it. I was pleased to find out it was a very professional pageant so for that reason I thought OK this will be good for her to learn about life.”
According to the mother, she had some concerns but was happy with the outcome.
“Initially the Beach Babe thing concerned me but I was very involved in the choice of swimwear. We are Australian and we do live on an Island so we all wear it. In the end I felt OK because it was age appropriate and it was modest.
“She’s had a problem with bullying and the pageant was a great opportunity to get back some of that confidence she’d lost. Kids can be ruthless sometimes and they bring down others who are making achievements.
“As a mother that made me feel sad and angry at times. I made it quite clear to Madeline to never laugh or be judgmental of anybody because we’re all the same. No-one is better than anybody else so I’m glad she’s taken that on board.”
She said the crowning is a special memory.
“She’s had to deal with a lot so I’m very proud of her. She’s remained true to herself and she doesn't stoop to the level bullies do.
“The pageant was an outlet for her, it’s something she could achieve by herself. The first thing she did was burst into tears when she was crowned and my husband jumped up on stage, he hugged and kissed her.
“When I look back on that I cry. It’s a special memory and I think it gives other girls hope.”