Day one of the Miss Universe New Zealand 2012 pageant has been completed. The 10 contestants from around the country have had their fittings with both Louise Stichbury for a fashion show later this week, and Shika Braddock, for an eveningwear show on the 30th.
They also had a relaxing dinner with a view overlooking Wellington City at a private residence, before we subjected them to a mock interview session in preparation for the real thing on Friday. Today, they are spending the day rehearsing, and will venture to a restaurant for a meal this evening.
As usual, the profile photographs do them little justice. After meeting them in person, any prejudices one might have had based on nicely shot photographs are out the window, something that tends to happen every year. It’s also very difficult to say after a single day how things are shaping up.
Just going on basic statistics, there is a 40 per cent chance the next Miss New Zealand will not be locally born, reflecting the changing make-up of our country. Then again, three of seven on the judging panel are also Kiwis who were born outside New Zealand.
There’s little else to tell at this point. I’ve had very brief conversations with each contestant, and read their biographies. However, tomorrow, with the official functions starting with a lunch with Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon (Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is presently in China) it will be interesting to see who shapes up in the ambassadorial stakes. It’s not a widely known fact that Councillor McKinnon picked the winner, Priyani Puketapu, last year after this luncheon, and his instincts may prove on target again.â€”Jack Yan, Publisher
Tickets to the final on Sunday night may be reserved at this page.
Photographed by Andrew Bignall
Miss North Harbour, sponsored by Tuscany Road, Talia Bennett
Talia is 23, 5 ft 8 in. She completed her Bachelor of Property and is a qualified commercial property valuer. Her interests include yoga, health, nutrition, fashion and tennis. Taliaâ€™s ambition is to climb the corporate ladder pursuing a career in property development.
Miss Auckland, Jennifer Lambly
Jennifer is 22, 5 ft 10 in. She is in her second year of a social science degree. Her interests include fashion, music, fitness and travel. Jennifer has been involved in aid work in South America, enjoying the experience. Her ambition is to continue this involvement, combined with working for troubled youth within New Zealand.
Miss Celsius, Courtney Ramsdale
Courtney is 20, 5 ft 10 in. She is in her final year of a bachelor of communications degree. Her interests include dancing, media, music, fashion and writing. Courtney aspires to having a career within television as a news reporter, or in production.
Photographed by Andrew Bignall
Miss Howick, Avianca BÃ¶hm
Avianca is 22, 5 ft 10 in. She recently graduated with a fashion degree. Avianca currently works as a brand ambassador, and is a part-time model. Her interests include fashion design, sports, and reading. Her ambition is to become a qualified chartered accountant.
Miss Manawatu, Miriam SchrÃ¶ter
Miriam is 20, 5 ft 6 in. She is in her second year of a Bachelor of Communications degree at Massey University. In the immediate future she plans to do a semester of study in America. Miriam also works part-time in fashion. Her interests include fitness, photography, art and travel. Her ambition is to have a people-focused career and to travel the world, exploring different countries and cultures.
Miss Nature Coast, Alex Beaumont
Alex is 20, 5 ft 6 in and a life insurance salesâ€™ consultant. Her interests include fashion, music, playing piano, and fishing. Alexâ€™s ambition is to gain a qualification as a dispensary technician. She also aspires to travel the world.
Miss Wairarapa, RÃ©nÃ©e Cummings
RÃ©nÃ©e is 21, 5 ft 7 in and works for a chartered accountant as a business servicesâ€™ support person. Her interests include netball, fitness and travel. RÃ©nÃ©e has recently completed a Diploma in Hospitality Management and is in her second year towards a Bachelor of Business Studies. Her ambition is to pursue a management career within the tourism industry.
Miss Hutt Valley, Rachel Millns
Rachel is 21, 5 ft 11 in, and a beauty therapist. Rachelâ€™s interests include biology, photography, horse-riding, and swimming. She has also thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to model for charity fashion parades. She has a true passion for animals. Her ambitions are to own her own beauty therapy salon, and to travel the world.
Miss Wellington, Lauren Mann
Lauren is 23, 5 ft 11 in, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing and International Business. She is also a part-time model and recently travelled with the World of Wearable Art to Hong Kong. Lauren has a passion for travelling and exploring new places. She also enjoys writing and hopes her first piece, a childrenâ€™s book, will be published in the near future.
Miss Otago, Monique Cooley
Monique is 22, 5 ft 10 in. She is a qualified beauty therapist and is passionate about educating others in advanced skin care techniques. Her interests include painting, fashion, skiing, fitness and nutrition. Monique also aspires to speak fluent Japanese, a subject she enjoyed at junior school. Her ambition is to study psychology and to become a Victoriaâ€™s Secret model.