Miss Universe Australia Jesinta Campbell was not only second runner-up at the Miss Universe 2010 pageant in Las Vegas in August but the 19-year-old was also named Miss Congeniality.Close to her chest ... Kate Waterhouse and Jesinta Campbell enjoy lunch at Hugos Lounge in Sydney. Photo: James Brickwood
This week, she hosted the Cancer Council's Girls Night In and I caught up with her to talk about her sudden fame, men and that rumoured boob job.
Did you always want to compete in Miss Universe?
No, modelling for me wasn't a childhood dream. When I was 16, I was really into acting, so I thought, 'Why not try modelling? It might open few doors.' But it was actually when I was in year 10 and I went into a school careers meeting and said, 'I want to be a volunteer and work with underprivileged kids,' and the teacher just said, 'Oh, gosh, you have to make a living, you know, Jesinta!' and I was like 'OK', so I started setting goals so I could eventually work as a volunteer as well as support myself financially. One of those goals was to enter Miss Universe Australia.
How much training did you have to do?
I dedicated a good two to three months beforehand. I went to the gym for two to three hours every day. I read national and international newspapers to be up to date with current affairs. I enrolled myself in Spanish lessons and I also did American history lessons.
How did you prepare for the questions in the pageant?
We did a lot of practice questions and we looked at the questions from previous years. You have to be really diplomatic and you have to try to include everyone's thoughts, values and beliefs in the answer because you don't want to upset anyone. It's not that you're not being untruthful to yourself, it's just that you want to be really respectful of everyone's views.
And you came third. That must have been an amazing moment.
It was pretty incredible. I already felt like a winner by just being there, so I had the attitude that whatever I got on top of that was icing on the cake. The actual show goes really quickly; what people don't realise is that you're in Vegas for 3½ weeks before the actual competition and there are heaps of lead-up rounds and interviews, so they are really observing the way the girls act and interact with each other. You have to be switched on the entire time.
What was it like being crowned Miss Congeniality?
We weren't told that there would be a Miss Congeniality award until the last few days and I suppose that sort of prevents anyone being fake for the whole time. They sent out this little ballot form and you just put down who you thought was 'the most friendly, fun and inspirational woman there'. The 84 contestants voted, so that, for me, meant more than anything.
Why do you think you won?
I'll talk to anyone and I really made an effort to get to know all of the girls. At every meal, I would sit with a different table of girls because I thought I had to take advantage of all the different cultures that were there. I would ask them about their schooling systems and about how their government works and how their currency works and I had a genuine interest in them and I think people saw that.
There have been rumours of you having a boob job. What is it like to have your body scrutinised?
It's really hard. I mean, I'm a young girl and I'm still trying to find out who I am and then you have people accusing you of things and judging every aspect of your body. Nothing is ever perfect for the media, so it's really difficult but I have great friends and family and they know who I am and I know who I am and that is all that matters.
Do you want to set the record straight?
I would prefer to make no comment on that. I mean, I don't want to say something because I know plastic surgery is a part of our society and I don't want to say something that would offend someone or give the wrong idea to young girls. I'd prefer not to say anything.
What was it like to come back to so much publicity?
It was absolutely crazy. I went from being a normal, everyday person to - I hate using the word 'celebrity' - but that's just how it is: people want to take your photo, people want your autograph and people are writing about you and it's the most bizarre thing.
As a fellow Miss Universe titleholder, are you going to follow in Jen Hawkins's footsteps?
Oh, look, to be the next Jennifer Hawkins is something everyone wants. There are definitely things she has done that I would love to do but can anyone be the next Jen Hawkins? I don't know, should she be worried? Oh, I don't know. When is her Myer contract up? 2013? I'm eyeing that one off! Who wouldn't want to be the face of Myer? Look at all those clothes!
Have you had many boys interested since being in the competition?
A lot more. Especially on Facebook; the number of messages I get and the marriage proposals - it's funny! I said to mum, 'Where was everyone before this?' All of a sudden this happened and there is all this interest and now I have no time.
Do you have a boyfriend?
No, no boyfriend!
Do you have a secret talent?
I play the African djembe drums.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would like to establish a business, be heavily involved in my charity work and I would like to be at a point where I can start a family, while living in an eco-friendly home.