Zara Beckett is from a local family that has been a part of the Coffs Coast community for four generations. She is currently the Coffs Harbour Showgirl 2017, an inspiring young ambassador for the Coffs Coast, as well as being a passionate advocate for agriculture and conservation of our native environment.
Hi Zara. Tell us about your relationship with the Coffs Coast?
My family has lived in Coffs Harbour for four generations. I was born here and attended Bishop Druitt College from Kindergarten until I completed Year 12 last year, and now I work and study here. I was a Nipper with Coffs Harbour Surf Club from six years old, completing my Bronze Medallion and becoming a fully-fledged volunteer life saver.
The Beckett family have a well-known reputation for volunteering and getting involved in the community. My grandfather was a former Deputy Mayor, and the “Beckett Arena” at the Coffs Harbour Showground is a dedication to the tireless support my grandmother has given the Coffs Harbour Show Society. Coffs Harbour is as much a part of me as I am of it. The history of Coffs and my family will always be connected, and I hope to add to that history by being a part of its future.
You were awarded Coffs Harbour Showgirl 2017. What was it like taking out the event?
When I was first awarded Coffs Harbour Showgirl of 2017, I was both shocked and thrilled. I honestly didn’t expect to receive this honour, but am so proud to be an ambassador for the Coffs Coast and to have the privilege to represent this beautiful place we are fortunate enough to call home.
What inspired you to become a Showgirl?
A family friend encouraged me to enter the competition. Initially, I saw it as a good opportunity to improve and practice my presentation and interview skills in preparation for life after the HSC. I also thought it would be wonderful to continue a family tradition by being the fourth generation of my family to be actively involved in the show. After I learnt more about what it entailed, I decided that it was also an excellent way to meet new people and give back to my local community.
What does it take to be a Showgirl, and how much training is involved?
Honestly, you just have to register and give it a go. You receive all of the support and training you need as a part of the experience. In the lead up to the Coffs Harbour Show there are a number of events and activities, including an information session, personal presentation workshops, a Coffs Harbour education session and public speaking tips. You then attend an interview, where you are asked general knowledge questions about the Coffs Coast, politics, agriculture and yourself. Finally, a Mocktail Party provides an opportunity for entrants to mix and mingle with each other and the judges, and demonstrate your networking skills. All entrants participate as ambassadors at the show itself by helping out at different stalls and activities and in the Grand Parade.
You recently represented Coffs Harbour in zone for the Showgirls competition. How did you go in the event, and how much planning was involved?
The Zone 1 Final for the Sydney Royal Easter Showgirl Competition was a terrific event hosted by the Wauchope Show Committee. Unfortunately I wasn’t selected to go on to the Sydney Royal Show, but it was an incredible experience. I met so many wonderful people who are passionate about making a positive difference in their local communities. I did do quite a bit of preparation, learning about agriculture and politics on a local and national scale, as well as working on my public speaking and presentation skills. Fortunately I had the support of several generous people, including Mel Crossland, Gina Szary, Meg Austin and Sam Wardman.
Now that you are an ambassador for the Coffs Coast, what roles will you have to take through the year?
I have had the opportunity to attend and support two fantastic High Tea fundraising events for Joyland Carers Retreat. I sashed competitors at last year’s show and personally visited and thanked our wonderful sponsors. I have met with local farmers and attended other agricultural shows. Given all that I have learned over the past 12 months, I will now continue to be an Ambassador by actively participating in the Show Committee to help preserve and improve our local show.
What advice would you give other girls wanting to become a Showgirl?
The Showgirl competition is a fantastic opportunity for young women to learn about presentation, confidence and Coffs Harbour’s rich history. It empowers young women to actively participate in their local community and promote the critical role of agriculture in our future. It’s also a lot of fun!
When you’re not up on stage, what do you enjoy doing here on the Coffs Coast?
I enjoy working at Dolphin Marine Magic as a Marine Assistant and am just in the middle of completing an Animal Studies Course at TAFE and my WIRES accreditation. So needless to say, I am passionate about helping with the conservation and rehabilitation of our native animals. I also love heading outdoors with family and friends to explore our beautiful waterfalls, rainforests, beaches and marine nature reserve.
For anyone interested in becoming a Showgirl, where is the best place to find out more information?
The best person to contact for any enquiries or more information about the event is Mel Crossland. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: 0423 424 868.