Mrs Continents Candidate Jess Turunen speaks out on mental illness as part of pageant platform

Depression and anxiety are one of the youth's main problems of today. And Jess Turunen wants people to know that it is a real sickness and it affects people in many different ways. She believes that one of the most fundamental knowledge is how to manage our own mind and emotions, and this isn't something taught in schools but eventually learned through searching and experience. 

Jess is aligning with the local Australian charity LIVIN. LIVIN was founded in honour of Dwayne Lally who like many others took his life after suffering in silence from a mental illness.

Turunen loves to help others, and she is fascinated by the study of human behaviour - "I recently ceased my 12 year long career in hair and makeup to pursue my dream of becoming a life coach. So coaching and neuro-linguistic programming is the perfect fit for me" - she explained.

In addition to being a beauty queen Jess Turunen is a wife and mom of two little boys - "I felt that at times I had lost a part of myself as I had very little hobbies and interests outside of my family. I entered into Mrs Australia Continents competition, and low and behold - I won! I can't imagine my life any other way now, and my kids love that I am a queen."

Lets know a little more about Jess' story and her journey to the crown of Mrs Continents 2018 through this interview! 

You will compete at the Mrs Continents Pageant, how will you prepare for the contest ? What unique characteristics would you say you bring to the competition?

With 4 weeks to go until my international final, I am now in the final stages of preparations. I am refining my interview skills, spending time working with the mental health organisation that I am an ambassador for (LIVIN), as well as plenty of self development, exercise and eating well to prepare my mind and body.

I am incredibly quirky and love to make a joke at my own expense. I don't take myself too seriously if I can avoid it, and I must say, I haven't met too many pageant girls like myself. I'm definitely the black sheep, but that is one thing that I love about myself.

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What do you expect to gain by competing in pageantry?

I only ever expect to receive personal gain in the form of self development. In everything I do, I aim to allow each experience to shape me in a new way from the last, and pageantry has helped me grow in so many ways. I love the charitable nature of pageantry, and this is something I will continue to do for the rest of my life.

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Social media seem to play a major role in pageantry nowadays. Do you think this is advantageous to you? Why or why not? 

Absolutely. Social media channels are used by over 2.4 billion people across the globe, and obviously gives us access to people who we otherwise may have never had contact with. It also gives us the opportunity to share the causes and inspirational movements that we participate in along the way. The more awareness to our charitable causes, the better the effect they have.

Did you face any moment of disappointment with yourself during the pageant journey, and how did you overcome it? 

Of course, I wouldn't be human if I didn't! It's normal to feel inadequate and disappointed at times, but when I feel down, I try to take some time to myself and surround myself with the people who remind me why I did this and how far I've come. If this is as far as I ever get, I am eternally grateful for what I have accomplished.

We’ve all seen the stereotypical portrayals of pageant contestants, a la Miss Congeniality, spreading peace, love and beauty throughout the world. How do you think you'll make a difference ?

The Continents system promote "Being your own kind of beautiful", and do not have any height or weight restrictions, which is a very strong part of why I wanted to be involved with this system. Basically for me, it means that I can spread a message of being authentic and true to yourself at all times, and remain a relatable queen.


Essentially yes, pageant girls are trying to spread peace and love, but I definitely don't think that's a bad thing. I think we need to pay more attention to the fact that women in pageants have been portrayed as airheads, when in fact most of us are well educated and highly intelligent women who work very hard to make the world a better place.

What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?

Go for it! If you can apply yourself, remain focussed and dedicated, maintain poise, and genuinely want to do good in the community, then you have what it takes to be a queen. I once heard someone say "If you want a crown, go and buy one. It takes enormous dedication and composure to be a queen." I believe this to be 100% right. I see my role as a queen to be a year long career. I am proud of my title, and dedicated to being a remarkable influence whilst I hold it. I would hope that every queen would do the same for their system.


Thanks to the beautiful Jess for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Mrs Continents pageant.