Courtney Thorpe surprised us with her humble spirit, stance of confidence and gleaming smile. She is without question, one of Brisbane's most captivating women who exudes a fierce and fabulous aurora. This beauty queen doesn't have time for non-sense, but her ongoing passion for change and empowerment is why she's leading the way - in her own lane.
"Life has been pretty crazy, recently. I've been back here in Australia full time since March. Which is a big life change since I've been living out of a suitcase for the last couple of years," Courtney Thorpe says.
We're standing in the shade under a deep pink bougainvillea at Victoria Park in-between frames. Her skin, glowing and her eyes attentive as we discuss the poses to shoot at the next location.
Thorpe's status catapulted into success when she was crowned Miss World Australia in 2014. Fast forward 2 years and she is still trying to adjust with the change.
"I was really paranoid when I won Miss World Australia 2014 that the fame was going to go to my head ... I was encouraged to let this world takeover a little because this is my new life," she replies with a hint of doubt.
"I don't know if I ever really did that. But I definitely have a different life to what I did a few years ago."
A typical day in the world of Thorpe is rather different to what many may expect. "I don't have a normal day," she laughs. "Though there is a perception that every day for me is full on but that is probably true 70% of the time. But the other 30% of the time I'm at home in my trackies."
But don't be deceived, because she has a few daily musts that she is adamant about. Every morning starts with a glass of lemon and water, and even though she 'hates exercise with every fibre of her being', she has forced herself into a routine and runs everyday.
Alongside her hectic schedule, she still takes some time out for a little pampering. "I'm into home-made DIY beauty recipes. At the moment, I'm obsessed with sesame oil baths," she says.
When I ask her about one product she can't live without, she takes a moment then smiles, "It would have to be my paw paw ointment. I always make sure my lips are hydrated because there is nothing worse than cracked lips. It hurts and it looks bad."
As we switch up locations, You Can't Hurry Love by Phil Collins starts playing in the background and sets the mood for the next set as she poses in the lush greenery of Victoria Park's mini golf course. In a moment of seriousness she breaks the silence and gasps with excitement saying, "This is my favourite song!" Taking initiative she starts moving gracefully as the wind catches her floral jumpsuit and not long after, the photographer has snapped the perfect frame.
During the interview I'm taken back by how easy it is to talk to her. Her warmth and welcoming personality had me rather intrigued that I found myself talking to a friend rather than a Beauty Queen.
While she was getting her makeup touched up, we discuss the topic about body image and embracing our curves and flaws.
A look of seriousness comes over her as she looks skywards. She takes a breath and says, "I want girls to know that it's OK not to like parts of yourself. I want them to understand that."
Passionately she goes on to say, "I'm sick of this message that tells everyone that you have to love everything about yourself, because that's not realistic. I remember that message getting pumped into me when I was younger and then feeling I wasn't good enough because I didn't love everything about myself. But as soon as you accept that there will be parts of yourself that you won't love, you can move forward from it. Now that is a really free and liberating feeling."
How does she do it? She's so full of life, it's inspiring. Surely there is someone or something that keeps her motivated and firmly grounded?
“My close girlfriends are my mentors. They are my everything,” she says. “I’ve worked hard to surround myself with incredible women.”
I ask if there is a hint of romance in her life? She gives me a cheeky smile: “Right now, I’m a very single Courtney ... I’m definitely not out there actively seeking, but I’m always open to something coming along.”
Just like any twenty-something year old who’s looking for love, Thorpe reveals that she’d like to find someone with whom she can have a good laugh and feel comfortable being around. But she has one condition; he has to have an ambitious side.
“Fun, ambitious and a bit cute wouldn’t hurt,” she laughs. “But most importantly, I want a down to earth guy.”
However, romance isn’t easy when you’ve risen to fame. She has worked hard to create a life that she loves and finding someone to complement that isn’t necessarily an easy feat.
“As strong and ambitious women, we can sometimes come across as being too full on. But those are qualities within myself that I’m not willing to tone down for anyone.” She continues, “I really believe that one day there will be a guy who can handle it.”
Thorpe isn’t one to hold back. She has many sides to her persona: She’s a beauty queen, model, mentor, public speaker and a voice. Although, being in the spotlight means social media trolls are present to poke negativity at her success.
“We’ve all watched social media change, particularly over the last few years ... I try very hard to make sure that across all of my platforms you see me, Courtney.”
She goes on to explain that though she has a strategy to be authentic, it doesn’t mean that everyone will sing praises.
“One of the hardest things to adjust to was getting those nasty comments. I used to take them to heart but these days, the moment I see it I delete it,” she says. “It holds no value to me and I feel sad for the people who post it.”
The prowess will be keeping herself busy with her passion for presenting as she moves into the next chapter of her journey.
“I’ve been doing presenting now for a number of years, I was even doing it before I won [Miss World Australia 2014] and I absolutely love it. I enjoy getting up on stage and talking to people and I have hopes to move into TV.”
She’s a bundle of wisdom and motivation. A beautiful soul that has depth, confidence and some serious style!
Though she has since given back her crown, there’s a part of her that will always be a ‘queen’, permanently.
“[My crown] symbolised so much more than ... just some shiny thing on my head. It represents everything that comes with Miss World Australia,” she says. “It symbolises hard work, determination and that never give up attitude.”
“Even though I have to stop wearing my physical crown, I didn’t want to forget everything that the crown came to represent.” She pauses and grins as her eyes sparkle in the sunlight, “I decided to get a little crown tattoo, which means that I am always wearing my crown.”
Credits | Model: Courtney Thorpe | Photographer: Wayde Creative | Stylist: Stacey O’Keeffe | Assistants: Jessica Lunan and Jesse Aquiningo | Hair and Makeup: Chelsea Brown | Location: Victoria Park Golf Complex