Mischaela Elkins was crowned a national delegate in the 15th Anniversary Ms. Universe competition for 2021 after two rounds of qualifications and eliminations. She is a businesswoman, model, author, and masterclass coach. She studied Business Administration in undergraduate and graduate school and holds degrees from Indiana University (B.S.) and IE Business School (MBA) respectively.
Before receiving her MBA from a globally recognized Top 10 School, she also sat for the qualifying exam and was accepted in the Mensa High IQ Society – scoring in the top 1%> of IQ scores globally. Between undergrad and MBA she also attended programs with Universite de Geneve in International Banking and Finance, completed her Foundations for the CFA accreditation and exam, and completed a Business Analytics and Economics Pre-MBA Summer Program at Harvard University.
While studying as an undergrad she worked as a professional model, predominantly in couture, evening wear, jewelry, and bridal after attending an Elite Fresh Faces open call in 2009. She completed her model training through the Barcino Modeling Agency in Barcelona, Spain. Barcino’s Model Academy taught her everything about the business side of modeling (contracts, terms), model etiquette, casting conventions, and more. Mischaela was runway trained by Mandy Dyonne, a world-renowned top agency runway coach who has trained the Victoria’s Secret Angels for the VS Fashion Show and model trained for Chanel, Fendi, Dior, and more. Mandy is also a runway walk trainer for the top agencies Elite, NEXT, and for the Elite Model Look contest.
As a model, she has worked with top-tier brands such as Graff, Paloma Blanca, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cle de Peau, Calvin Klein, Vera Wang, Nicole Miller, and more. Commercially she has worked for Warby Parker, Amazing Cosmetics, and Intercontinental Hotel Group. She has appeared in Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Lucky, and more. Mischaela has worked with top internationally known photographers including Scott Schuman (Vogue Paris, Vogue Italia, Interview) and Kirsten Miccoli (Vogue, Glamour Italia) among others. As an influencer, she was named to Glamour Mag’s Hot 100 in 2016 and was appointed a Flagship Brand Ambassador for Elizabeth Arden and its eponymous luxury salon and spa. She holds influencer deals with NatureLab Tokyo, P. Volve, and other brands in wellness and beauty.
Mischaela competed in the Miss Jetset 2021 competition, placing in the Top 15, Top 10, then finally Top 5. Additionally, she was a delegate in the Miss Vizcaya Swimwear modeling competition hosted by luxury swimwear brand Vizcaya Swimwear – sponsors of Miss Universe USA and Miss United States. She took home the IGM Model of the Year nomination in 2020, as well as received a Victoria’s Secret Bombshell nomination in 2021.
Mischaela has represented the title of “Miss Peru” a total of 3 times. She holds the Miss Elite Beauty Peru and Miss Model Beauty Peru national titles. In the Miss Elite Beauty competition, she won 4 subtitles: “Miss Photogenic”, “Miss Ideal Model”, “Miss Glamorous Beauty”, and Best Evening Gown”. She was named a Finalist in Top Model Peru Season 14. Finally, she competed in Ms. Universe 2021 on the International stage representing Peru. Mischaela was also selected for Miss Global, representing her heritage as Miss Indigenous Americas for the 2021 edition of the competition in Bali, Indonesia – on the same Miss World stage that Megan Young was crowned. Her ambition is to represent Peru at Mrs. Universe after she is married.
Mischaela was coached by Natalie Glebova, Miss Universe 2005 in soft skills such as interview, public speaking, and winning mindset. She was also trained by The Refinery – a pageant grooming and preparation academy run by Miss Earth 2001 and former Miss India Shamita Singha and the team that has worked with Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Lara Dutta, and Manushi Chhillar as well as countless Miss India contestants and supermodels. She was fitness trained as a model and beauty queen by John Benton of John Benton Model Fitness – the trainer for Victoria’s Secret models and beauty queens the world over.
She is a published author of 3 self-help books and the creator of a self-help Masterclass that counts thousands of people in 105 countries around the world as students. Mischaela is an Achology Certified Life Coach and the creator of “Angel Academy” a spiritual “flight school” for those looking to get in touch with their inner divinity and gain their wings to transform themselves and their intuition, their wealth abundance, and their romantic relationships and dating life. As a businesswoman, Mischaela won the Porsche 30 under 30 in Business Award and has won the Crain’s Chicago Business for best use of Social Media to grow digital presence. She is employed with the #2 globally ranked bank/financial institution.
Leveraging her Ms. Universe Peru platform she is a brand ambassador for LA MER, Swarovski, Mikimoto, Shiseido, Selfridge’s “Ocean Project” Initiative, and Parley for the Oceans. She has partnered with Oceana, 4 Ocean, Water.org, UN Water, and other nonprofits as Miss Peru. Her key projects during her reign include: Sponsoring and advocating for the Nazca Protected Area’s Formal adoption as part of Peru’s Bi-Centennial Goals, working with international collaborators on the Lima Water Project, and developing ACQUAVENUS – a consortium of international beauty queens engaging in ocean conservation and water preservation projects, campaigns, and initiatives globally.
Model & Mode Magazine recently caught up with Mischaela to discuss her journey in the modelling world and here’s what went down:
How did you become an international model and beauty queen? What’s it like to model internationally?
I started out going to the 2009 Elite Fresh Faces Model Call alongside 300+ other models. I was one of three girls to receive a callback to meet with agents for the New Faces division and model development. I worked as a model full time during undergrad and transitioned to part-time or special projects work in my mid-twenties as the career of a fashion model isn’t that long. As I have a more international look, being of mixed heritage, I have had success in evening gown, bridal, and swim in my late twenties to thirties after working on fashion, luxury, and beauty campaigns. Working more in swim has led me to get involved with pageantry, as most pageant organizations have age limits set to late twenties through mid-thirties. I wanted to participate before I no longer could, and with international systems and align with international brands. International beauty pageants and winning those global/world titles are an excellent way to move into the international market in modeling. The key challenge with international modeling is to not bend to pressure to morph or change into that market’s beauty standard just to be available for any and every campaign. As a person of mixed heritage, the chameleon’s ability is naturally there, and its best to stand firm in your look and make that your signature…never look to change drastically to please everyone..instead work on perfecting your walk, your poses, your looks, and your fitness and naturally those who are on your level of professionality and want your natural look will gravitate to you. It’s never a dull moment collaborating with a set of professionals who are speaking 2, 3, 4, or 5 languages on set and you will learn so much about other cultures doing your due diligence as a model and researching the references the team has in mind for the set, garments, influences for the visuals, etc. That’s the part I love most about international modeling, the background work that every model should be doing on what the influences for the vision and what we are shooting for has really leveled me up to become a more cultured and worldly person. I am grateful for that polishing I am getting.
What has been your greatest triumph, to date?
My greatest triumph to date has been winning the Ms. Universe as Miss Peru the year after Miss Peru, Janick Maceta, was top 3 at Miss Universe. As I’m the first Miss Peru to also be a member of MENSA – it’s an honor to be Miss Peru in my own way and bring more than just beauty, modeling prowess, and beautiful gowns to the international stage.
what has been your greatest lesson, and how have you used that lesson in your life?
My greatest lesson in life has been that there is truly no competition. We are all equal, we’re just all different. The path that is truly meant for me, is and always will be meant for me. Competition comes into play when people take society’s conditioning to idealize a specific type of success, notoriety, fame, wealth, etc. from a specific place and in a specific way. When we limit ourselves to only so few ways something can happen for us then we naturally have to compete with others. This is the scarcity mindset. Be it for success, love, money, notoriety, press, you name it…..there is no competition when you’re on the path that is divinely created and destined for you. Only you can walk it. We are all, in our highest and best form, just out here driving side by side on our destined paths…completely equal and completely NOT in competition.
I’ve used this lesson in life to have grace and peace about things not working out so that other things can truly come into my life and really be for me. From every modeling job to my pageant wins, corporate career processes that have gone well, to the books I was destined to write…I found the least resistance and the most flow by being open and only open to what was truly aligned with me. There was then no forcing, there was only focusing…because the right opportunities and right place at the right time type of divine alignment started happening and doors opened and I was able to walk through them in peace, joy, and elation.
If you could travel back in time and alter one historical event, where would you go and what would you attempt to change?
My belief system centers around the fact that everything is fated and not an accident. Even negative and dark events have to occur for some reason, even if we cannot accept or process why, to advance us all or create ripple effects to other later events. For that reason there isn’t really anywhere I would go and attempt to change what has happened. I trust the bigger plan of the universe and the universal creator.
What do you think you came into this life to learn, and what do you think you came here to teach?
I came into this life to learn how to blend the spiritual and the material. I came here to master intellect and rational thinking merged completely with intuition and knowing. I came here to master these and then teach them and this very thought that we are spiritual beings on a physical journey, who must leverage rational thought guided by intuitive exploration and curiosity is at the heart of my books and masterclasses. I really believe we must care for our energy field and spiritual growth in the same way we get haircuts, manis, pedis, and care for our outer self. Both are vital to this reality and this human experience, and they must be held in balance. Overemphasis on either one over the other is the root of all misery.
What projects are you working on right now?
Right now I am working on completing the self-help courses that coordinate with each of my books, as well as a very large business endeavor that I can’t share right now but I’d like to think it is my “big idea”.
In terms of my Ms. Universe and Miss Peru platform, I am working on a number of key projects that I’m really excited about.
If I had any advice for someone pursuing pageantry I would advise them to get really clear on their platform and the types of projects they want to work on before ever even choosing a system. As they go they can then etch out exact campaigns – but the guiding principle is still to be very focused and niche.
I have 3 large-scale Ms. Universe projects that I’m working on and naturally, these are internationally geared – helping promote the Earthshot Prize by Prince William the Duke of Cambridge and the initiative’s focus on cleaner oceans. I’m also working on a few campaigns relating to the Sustainable Markets Initiative by Prince Charles, to promote eco-conscious business and sustainable capitalism. His Terra Carta initiative is part of this. Lastly, I’m working on a Coral Conservation project and the Mr. Goodfish sustainable fishing campaign with the Prince Albert II de Monaco Foundation.
I’ve also created a petition of my own to personally petition Victoria’s Secret to pursue eco-friendly ways of downsizing their brick and mortar footprint, as their key activities have been damaging to local water tables and that will eventually impact the ocean.
For Peru specifically, I have two key projects in works: supporting the Lima Water Project and helping promote international collaboration between Peru and the US and Switzerland to bring clean water to Lima from the Andes, and I’m working to petition and hold the Peruvian government accountable for securing and sustaining the Nazca Marine Protected Area which is an off coast Pacific area home to hundreds of key species that exist only there. This protected area concept exists to protect the feeding, mating, and migratory patterns of these animals so that their biome is secure and the entire ecosystem doesn’t fold under and die out due to imbalances in species numbers, behaviors, etc.
Combining the two, and in order to continue my platform for my lifetime, I have created ACQUAVENUS which is a consortium structure for international beauty queens to come together to support, promote, and collaborate with each other on ocean and water conservation projects globally.
Lastly, I’ve secured a handful of brand partnerships in order to promote and spread awareness for the ocean conservation work being done by major international brands. I will be working with LA MER to spread the word on their Blue Heart Ocean Fund. I’ll also be working with Shiseido to share their work and message with the We Are One Ocean initiative which calls for the protection of 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. As Ms. Universe, I’ve partnered with Swarovski to promote their Waterschool initiative which seeks to inspire and excite children to take action and become informed about ocean conservation and water preservation in their own communities so that we can inspire the next generation of water defenders and warriors. Lastly, I’ve joined forces with L’Oreal to promote their ocean conservation and preservation efforts as a company as well as specifically highlight the work they’ve done under the Biotherm research arm to ensure their ingredients are sustainably harvested. As an exclusive, I’ve signed on as a spokesmodel and face of Leilani Shells, an innovative fine jewelry company that plants corals in Bali, Indonesia with every fine jewelry purchase.
What would you still like to attempt in your career?
I’d still like to build off of the ocean conservation and water preservation work I’ve begun as Miss Peru and later Ms. Universe.
My long-term goal is to work for the United Nations on the ground in Peru as a Director for UN Water or for Oceana in the Pacific Ocean of coastal Peru. My long-term ambition after building wealth as a businesswoman and entrepreneur is to pivot to United Nations work with a UN body or as a United Nations ambassador between the US and Peru.
After pageantry, my immediate concern is to focus on entrepreneurship and build out my self-help and spiritual wellness empire. Although it may seem like my endeavors are unrelated, I truly believe when we build a healthier and more healed emotional and spiritual world – we can bring our masculine and feminine energy into balance and stop suppressing our feminine energy. By being more in tune with and healing our inner feminine, we can have more respect for the divine feminine energy that is mother nature and our planet earth.
What Advice Would You Give To Those Hoping To follow your footsteps?
The best advice I can give to those hoping to follow in my footsteps is to do the healing work to be able to embrace all that you are without being torn apart by competitive mindsets and thoughts that you aren’t good enough. Competition and hierarchy are illusions put in place to control us. If I’ve learned anything it’s that the path that is meant for you won’t miss you. We ALL have a specific role in life and a divine destiny and that path is ours and ours alone, which means there is no competition on that path. There is only competition when we get caught up in scarcity mindsets that there are only a few ways to win. When we need the applause, approval, and validation of society we will naturally gravitate towards what society puts on high. That leads us to try to step into occupations and dreams that aren’t even ours…they are just what society tells you will bring you the love, adoration, fame, and fortune you think you need to fill up the hole in your heart. That hole can only be filled by YOU, your self-love, and healing.
No occupation, no relationship, and no amount of public adoration is going to make you feel truly loved. Heal your wounds, we all have them, and then pursue the path that was put in your heart. That is the only way to be successful in a way that endures and also feels fulfilling. Overnight success, paying your way to the top, etc. is just ego-driven nonsense that just enriches others and leaves you empty. Please remember this.