Maria Thattil, Miss Universe Australia 2020 wearing Friendie Audio Bluetooth Headphones

Friendie X Miss Universe Australia: The Journey So Far

Miss Universe Australia 2021- Friendie Audio is so proud to be partnering with MUA as the audio partner for 2021. 2020 was our first year coming on board, and what a year it was! Most organisational aspects of the competition had to be changed- thanks again for that, COVID 19! The management team at Pink Tank Events masterfully pivoted again and again at the eleventh hour. Every time the metaphorical goal posts shifted, the competition morphed into something new. No trip overseas, no groups photoshoots for some states, no final huge live event in Melbourne at the Sofitel! This meant the lead up to the event went for months and months- which was incredible in many ways. This meant we really got to know the amazing women in the competition. It was real. It was raw. It was heartfelt.

At Friendie Audio, we really connected with some of the women’s stories.

Hanan Ibrahim is one. She spent 2020 working overtime in her role as a radiation therapist in a busy Melbourne hospital. She is an advocate for female empowerment and racial and cultural equality. She is also a very successful model, recently working with Country Road and Mimco, and is a role model for all women as well as women of colour. Hanan was particularly touched by our 2020 Friendie campaign for Beyond Blue, where we offered headphones for a ‘Pay What You Can’ scheme, with profits raised going straight to the charity. She helped individuals in her suburb of Melbourne to access our Friendie headphones, at a time when they may not have been able to afford a ‘luxury’ item. Our mantra that ‘Music brings Happiness’ is never more true, and Hanan helped to spread the joy even further within her community at a very challenging time in our world.

Maria Thattil is another. You may know her name already- she’s the current Miss Universe Australia. What a privilege getting to know her! We discovered midway through the year that her gorgeous dog stole her headphones and ate them. Yep. Her dog literally ate her Friendie headphones! She was so apologetic for her dog’s impeccably good taste, and extremely grateful and gracious when we sent her a replacement pair. She’s one to follow. She embodies strength, grace, honesty, intelligence and compassion. She stands up for what she believes in. She advocates for women and equality. She raises her voice against injustice and doesn’t hold back. She’s walking her own path and showing the world how it’s done. It’s everything we would want our daughter’s to be- authentic and courageous.

These are two examples of women we are proud to know, and two of many shining lights we are proud to have ‘met’  through the Miss Universe Australia program. It’s not ‘another beautify pageant’. It could be, for any women content to cruise through and simply spruik some free products. But that’s on the women, and that’s a choice- because instead of this, they are encouraged to learn, to celebrate their differences, to enjoy new experiences, to find ways to grow and flourish, and to be united and connected- even if COVID threatens to lock us all down and keep us separate! It’s a program encouraging women to shatter glass ceilings, if they have the courage to do so.

The next wave of finalists has just been announced and the 2021 program is in full swing. We are looking forward to meeting some new faces and hopefully, Australia can get to meet a new generation of women who aren’t content with just sitting back; hopefully, women like Hanan and Maria have paved the way for authenticity and truth. At Friendie, our core values align. As a female-founded family company, we embrace diversity and inclusion. We aim to live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives where we ‘dream big and keep it simple’. Our favourite Friendie core value is to 'do better than before”', which applies to our products, our work, our personal lives and our work-family’s vision for the future.

It’s pretty cool to dare to dream.


Follow along on Instagram:


@iamxanaan – Hanan Ibrahim



@mariathattil – Maria Thattil



@friendie_audio – Friendie Audio



@missuniverseaustralia.official – Miss Universe Australia Official Account



@pinktankevents- Pink Tank Events Management



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