International Women’s Day

We are honoured to feature a guest post by Ariel Pearse, Miss Tourism International 2016/17. Ariel has lived in both Auckland and Brisbane, she is studying social entrepreneurship and has volunteered for eighteen months as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ariel was also a finalist in Miss World New Zealand 2016. Thank you for taking time to write for Omika.

There was one major roadblock for me entering the pageant world. I had one value that was challenged by my entering this competition:

outward beauty should never be an indicator of personal worth.

In saying this I want to write about my mother, Michelle Pearse – it was she that helped me navigate through many different influences and helped me to discover how I could act in accordance with all of my values. Throughout the pageant, this practise of acting in accordance with my beliefs strengthened my character.  She believed in me no matter what. She is an example of a woman who, through her small but diligent act of support and love, lead others to success. I received a crown but the real winner is my mother.

Not only did she sign me up to audition for the national finals, she put up with my constant protests mostly born from my own insecurity and disbelief in myself. If my mother were self-interested, it would have been so easy to give up – I am grateful for her diligence. Others accused her as being controlling, but instead of giving up, she was an example of integrity, strength and most importantly charity.

It was charity that lead to my mother to spending money, energy and every moment of spare time to find a competition wardrobe that allowed me to live my standards of modesty. She took time off work to attend the month-long competition, bringing my grandmother along who needed daily care. Even though taking care of my grandmother and I in a foreign country would have been plenty to keep her covered day and night, I frequently found her caring for the health needs of the other contestants and my friends. She became the mum of the pageant! Her influence spread, such that she became a mother figure to children spread all over the world.

So, what makes a woman? As I wade through what seems to be a battlefield of opinions, provocations and pride, I have one big concern – in the obsession to find ourselves have we forgotten who we are? It seems we are so caught up in proving ourselves to the world that we ultimately lose ourselves in the process. This next quote really inspires me as to question of the definition of celebrated women of today.

“The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.” – Margaret D. Nadauld

It is because of the influence of my mother that causes me to re-think my own emphasis on popular culture. Women like my mother, my daily heroes, encourage me to hold true to who I am regardless of what personalities are considered fashionable or attractive at the time.

Ariel Pearse was crowned Miss Tourism International at the Malaysia event in December 2016. You can follow Ariel here on Facebook or here on Instagram. Read our article about Ariel’s Miss World New Zealand journey  here and here on Omika’s blog. Shop for modest dresses here at 


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