‘Straya, huh? We do things differently around here, and sometimes it takes an outsider with a camera to remind us of that fact.
Which brings us to the subject at hand: Queen & Country Australia, a new six part web documentary series which sees American travel writer Jessie Archer follow the fierce competition that surrounds the annual Beef Week Queen of Australia pageant.
“Every year, country towns all across Australia hold a festival to find a new Queen. The quest is to find a young local woman that best represents their community and country women in general. Glamour and beauty are irrelevant and there’s no swimsuit or evening gown round. Instead, candidates are judged on personality, confidence, rural knowledge, in addition to demonstrating an understanding of their local community and current affairs.”
Archer was fascinated by the very concept, which stands in stark contrast to American-style beauty pageants. “Coming from America, I expected an over the top pageant, with way too much hair, tiaras and sequins, and girls falling over themselves to out-bitch each other. Well I got a Tiarra, but she was one of the contestants! Beautiful, down-to-earth and, along with all the other girls hoping to be Queen, a true local treasure.”
The series is co-created by long-time friends Mark ‘Max’ Walker (Australian Story, Who Do You Think You Are, Grand Designs Australia) and Matthew Kelly (Screen Australia, Foxtel), who sought to show a side of Australia that often goes uncelebrated in pop culture.
“I grew up in Murwillumbah, not far from Casino, and I’ve never felt any show has ever really captured the people of this region as they should be,” said Walker, “This was an opportunity to see Australia in a completely different and delightful light… through its Beef Week Queens”.
Check out the trailer above, then head to YouTube where every episode awaits.