Miss Deaf Australia 2012: Who Will Be Crowned The Winner10 Feb 2012
On Friday 3rd February, I attended Miss Deaf Australia, where I interviewed a long-time family friend of mine, Lauren Patrick, who was born profoundly deaf. As the only one with a hearing impairment in her family, Lauren struggled trying to communicate with family and friends all through her childhood, and never quite felt part of everything…
Lauren has always been surrounded by the ‘hearing world’ as it’s known, so she didn’t have much interaction with other people from the deaf community whilst growing up.
When she turned nine, her parents decided to get her fitted with a cochlear implant. It was a daunting decision, followed by an even riskier procedure, but ended up being the best decision of her life. She described to me, the feeling of what it was like when she first got ‘switched on’, and all of the magical sounds of life, that she could now hear, and experience; like the sound of sand beneath her feet, when walking on the beach.
In the last year or so, Lauren decided to link up with the deaf community, and has now learnt Auslan (Australian sign language). She’s picked it up very well, but tells me, although it’s been a challenge, it’s one that she’s thoroughly enjoyed.
Joining the deaf community has allowed Lauren to take part in activities, that she wouldn’t have had access to previously. One great opportunity she’s received, and taken in her stride, is her participation in this year’s Miss Deaf Australia pageant.
Miss Deaf Australia began in 1971, where the current President of Deaf Club Sydney, Lorraine D’arcy, was announced the winner. The pageant isn’t always on every year however, but they decided it was time for it to make a comeback this year.
Three girls all vowing for the top spot, where they will be named Miss Deaf Australia 2012, with the winner being flown to Prague, to take part in the Miss Deaf World pageant.
Just like other pageants, Miss Deaf Australia has three components; talent, swimwear and eveningwear. This will play a large part in the three judges decisions on who will be announced the winner.
The judges are made up of people from the deaf community, including, the current Miss Deaf World, from Italy; Ilaria Galbusera, and Miss Deaf Australia winner from 2008; Aparna Koirola.
The audience comprised of mostly family and friends of the contestants, a large portion of who, were hearing impaired. To accommodate them, the organisers of the pageant ensured everything was done in sign language, but for those of us in the hearing community, we were the ones being translated to. As a hearing person myself, I can say it was quite an interesting experience to be on the other side.
Now that Lauren has experienced both worlds, her goal, as a Miss Deaf Australia contestant, is to combine both of them, and bring a sense of inclusion and equality, to both communities. She would also love to speak to people around the world, and promote deaf awareness, so people have a better understanding.
As a jack of all trades, I went along to this pageant, interviewed, and filmed it all myself, so you won’t see much of me, but rather hear me. I have also taken great pride in editing my footage and putting together a great video of the night, so please take a look here and find out who the winner was! http://youtu.be/wwi-PcG9Gtc