Lucire: News


September 25, 2016

Turned on, tuned in: Doris Bergman’s seventh annual Emmy Style Lounge & Party

Lucire staff/21.48

Elyse Glickman

Above, from top: Art Lewin works the room with celebrities on hand. Fibrum’s revolutionary virtual reality technology. We fell in love with True Love Skincare.

It just goes to show that you can’t stop progress. A decade ago, everybody in Hollywood was marvelling about how cable television was drawing some of the spotlight away from the Big Four networks with ground-breaking concepts that just couldn’t be shown on ‘regular TV’. Today, Netflix, Hulu and other streaming networks have eclipsed cable television with topical takes on social issues and nostalgia. Heck! It took a lot for us to pull ourselves away from binge watching The Get Down, Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, Bloodline, and Narcos to attend Doris Bergman’s seventh annual Emmy Style Lounge & Party.
   After a decade of covering pre-awards events, we have noticed there is a similar shift in how Hollywood event planners are picking and choosing their participants. In 2006, it was all about glamour, luxury and fun touches of excess. This is, after all, how we got turned on to vacuum cleaners that double as sculpture.
   Today, the suites reflect our evolving tastes as well as those of the taste-makers around Hollywood. At Doris’s event inside the swanky Fig & Olive restaurant, we found a balance between the practical and the luxurious. There was plenty to please male attendees such as Jason Ritter, John Savage, Marsai Martin (Black-ish) and Charlie Koontz (CSI: Cyber). Art Lewin, a long-time Doris favourite, handed out silk ties and discussed his bespoke suiting services for special occasions. Single’s jewel-toned boxers for men would look and feel comfortable under these custom-tailored suits.
   A few high-tech products made their début. Dioo Audio’s pink, champagne, and black ear buds and headphones were designed for women, according to company rep Mike Kahn. However, with the sleek metallic, guitar-pick-inspired accents and comfy memory foam in the headphones, most guys would snap up the black accessories. Speaking of sound investments, celebrities were the first to get their hands on Fibrum Mobile Virtual Reality headsets, which takes smartphone gaming experience to the next level. Event sponsor introduced its app, which helps users locate hot bars and cool cocktail or craft beer events anywhere in the world.
   Grooming goodies were also front and centre. Spongelle added wonderful new things to their line, including lasting pedicure bars, metallic soap sponges that leave behind a subtle shimmer, and their new all-in-one Super Buffer for men. Other products focused on those unmentionable grooming challenges that we all face: the FootMate System by Gordon Brush, a marriage between a shower mat and a pedicure brush, gently scrubs away sand, dirt, and dead skin from tired, calloused feet. Even the most follicly endowed man wouldn’t mind a little boost from Pura d’Or’s hair-growth-enhancing shampoo. Celebs and civilians who suffer from warts, age spots, and skin made crackly by the sun all found remedies within the True Love Skincare line. Essential oils, honey, and other natural ingredients gently exfoliate, disinfect, and moisturize inflamed skin, even in intimate areas. As for their True Love Private Paste, don’t be shy—go ahead and ask!
   There was enough sparkle for our favourite style stars including Jane Lynch, Kimberly Elise, Patricka Darbo, Dot Marie Jones, and Tasha Smith (Empire). Doris’s good friend Sue Wong had her camera-ready dresses waiting in the wings. The international designer–grande dame showcased eveningwear that evoked a long-gone time and place; women of all shapes could be sexy and modern with a nod to silent film era. Twisted Silver showed up with more repurposed chic costume jewellery for men and women, and My Saint, My Hero was back with an expanded range of cool faith-oriented bracelets and bangles. Celebrities seeking the real deal in jewellery were drawn to Andrea Gutierrez’s nature-inspired statement pieces. Dresses, jumpsuits, rompers, scarves, and tops by Kaya di Koko are wrinkle-free and practical, yet sexy enough for the club or resort.
   Rekorderlig’s fruit cider from Sweden and cocktails made with Royal Élite Vodka from Uzbekistan helped guests quell the late summer heat. However, the star of the show, beverage-wise, was chef–coffee importer–home entertaining maven Bryan David Scott. With assistance from LA mixologist Flairin Farron, Bryan rocked the house with his luxurious iced espresso drinks spiked with Somrus, a cardamon- and rose-scented cream liquor from India. If you insist on top-quality coffee to really wake you up in the morning, check out his news and brews at his aptly named website,
   In the spirit of giving back, guests and sponsors donated unwrapped gifts for young adults (ages 13–18) for a Pre-Holiday Gift Drive benefiting ‘Wednesday’s Child’, a weekly segment airing on KTTV Fox 11 News, Los Angeles, with anchor Christine Devine. ‘Wednesday’s Child’ highlights harder-to-place children in the LA County foster care system who are in need of adoptive families. ‘In Los Angeles County, alone, there are over 35,000 children receiving child welfare services,’ says social worker, Prof William Wong. Doris always invites two foster children to join in on the festivities and experience what it feels like to be treated as a VIP.
   A decade ago, we just couldn’t get enough of the next big things in designer handbags and shoes, studded tank tops and embellished designer denim for the very young and thin starlet. Leave it to Doris to keep things fresh every awards’ season. This go-round, men got the royal treatment.—Leyla Messian, Correspondent; and Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor

Courtesy Doris Bergman

Elyse Glickman

Above, from top: Edyta Sliwinska with Dioo Audio. Jane Lynch with Sue Wong Couture. Jason Ritter with Ein Drink. Kimberly Elise with Personal Touch lingerie. Patrika Darbo with Footmate. Strong enough for a man, designed for a woman: Dioo’s glam audio innovations. Royal Élite Vodka quells the late summer heat. Foot Mate puts its best foot forward. Hollywood haberdasher Art Lewin. My Saint, My Hero puts its faith in gold and silver and a variety of styles. Chilling out with Rekorderlig cider. Coffee chef extraordinaire Bryan David Scott. Legendary designer Sue Wong in top form.

September 23, 2016

Gillian Saunders takes top honours at 2016 World of Wearable Art Awards’ Show, with Supernova

Lucire staff/11.00


New Zealand designer Gillian Saunders has scooped the Brancott Estate Supreme Award at tonight’s World of Wearable Art (WOW) Awards’ Show. Saunders, who had entered 15 garments before her winning entry, Supernova, has won eight awards prior to 2016, but this is the first time she has taken out the top prize.
   Saunders, who was born in England, has been involved in television and theatre for most of her working life. She was trained in Yorkshire, and went on to Christchurch, New Zealand, where she worked as a props’ maker for the Court Theatre.
   â€˜I had been making stage props for theatre and TV for years. WOW was the perfect challenge—could I make props for the body as well?’ she said.
   Supernova was inspired by ‘Thierry Mugler’s Chimera dress [from the autumn–winter 1997–8 collection], … the iridescent spiny fins of the Hippocampus from the Percy Jackson movie The Sea of Monsters, and some incredible NASA images taken by the Hubble Telescope,’ she noted. ‘Once all these elements were combined, Supernova was brought to life.
   â€˜The large gems represent new stars being born and the dark shadows represent deep space. Each scale has been individually cut, shaded with marker pens and then hand-sewn on to the garment. Each gem has had its sticky backing removed and then glued on by hand.’
   Saunders also won the Avant-Garde section in this year’s competition, judged by WOW founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff, Zambesi’s Elisabeth Findlay, and sculptor Gregor Kregar.
   Dame Suzie said, ‘Supernova has the design innovation, the construction quality and vibrant stage presence in performance to win WOW’s top award.’
   Saunders’ 2013 design, Inkling, won the Weta Creature Carnival Award and an internship for her at Academy Award-winning Weta Workshop. It is currently part of the WOW international exhibition, touring around the world, and presently at the EMP Museum in Seattle, Washington, where it will be displayed till January, after which the exhibition will head to the Peabody Essex Museum in Boston, Mass.
   She also won the Avant-Garde section in 2007 with Equus: behind Closed Doors, while in 2009, Tikini was second in the Air New Zealand South Pacific section.
   Designers from New Zealand, China, India, England, Australia, and the USA won awards in each section.
   The American Express Open section this year saw Renascence, by Yuru Ma and Siyu Fang of Shanghai take first place. The Spyglass Creative Excellence section was won by Mai (I), by Pritam Singh and Vishnu Ramesh of Gujarat. Queen Angel, by Adam McAlavey of London, won the MJF Lighting Performance Art section.
   Baroque Star, by Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry of Christchurch, won the Weta Workshop Costume and Film section, netting the duo a four-week internship at Weta Workshop, plus travel, accommodation, and prize money.
   The Wellington Airport Aotearoa section was won by Maria Tsopanaki and Dimitry Mavinis of London, with their creation Princess Niwareka. The World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars Museum Bizarre Bra section was won by Julian Hartzog of Tarpon Springs, Fla., with Come Fly with Me.
   Of the special awards, Dame Suzie chose Incognita, by Ian Bernhard of Auckland, as the most innovative garment, giving it the WOW Factor Award. Renewal, by Alexa Cach, Miodrag Guberinic and Corey Gomes, won the First-Time Entrant Award. The Knight by Jiawen Gan of the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology won the Student Innovation Award. The Sustainability Award, recognizing the protection of our environment and the use of materials that would otherwise be discarded, was won by Bernise Milliken of Auckland, for Grandeer. Digital Stealth Gods, by Dylan Mulder of Wellington, won the Wearable Technology Award. The Wellington International Award, given to the best international entry, was won by Daisy May Collingridge of Woldingham, Surrey, England, for Lippydeema. Collingridge also won the UK–Europe Design Award with this entry.
   Khepri, by Miodrag Guberinic and Alexa Cach of New York, NY, won the Americas Design Award. Yu Tan of Shanghai won the Asia Design Award with The Renaissance Happens Again, while Cascade, by Victoria Edgar of Geelong, Victoria, won the Australia and South Pacific Design Award.
   The David Jones New Zealand Design Award was won by Voyage to Revolution, by Carolyn Gibson of Auckland.
   The Cirque du Soleil Performance Art Costume Award, chosen by Denise Tétreault, Costumes Lifecycle and Creative Spaces Director of the Cirque du Soleil, was won by Digital Stealth Gods, by Dylan Mulder. Mulder receives prize money, flights and accommodation for a one-month internship at Cirque du Soleil’s headquarters in Montréal, Québec.
   WOW runs in Wellington, New Zealand, through to October 9, and will be seen by 58,000 people live during its run. It employs over 350 cast and crew.
   This year, 133 entries by 163 designers (some worked in pairs) were received, competing for a prize pool of NZ$165,000.


Renascence, by Yuru Ma and Siyu Fang, Shanghai.

Mai (I), by Pritam Singh and Vishnu Ramesh, Gujarat.

Queen Angel, by Adam McAlavey, London.

Baroque Star, by Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Princess Niwareka, by Maria Tsopanaki and Dimitri Mavinis, London.

Come Fly with Me, by Julian Hartzog, Tarpon Springs, Fla.

Incognita, by Ian Bernhard, at AUT, Auckland.

Renewal, by Alexa Cach, Miodrag Guberinic and Corey Gomes.

Grandeer, by Bernise Milliken, Auckland.

Digital Stealth Gods, by Dylan Mulder, Wellington.

Lippydeema, by Daisy May Collingridge, Woldingham, Surrey.

Khepri, by Miodrag Guberinic and Alexa Cach, New York.

The Renaissance Happens Again, by Yu Tan, Shanghai.

Cascade by Victoria Edgar, Geelong, Victoria.

Voyage to Revolution by Carolyn Gibson, Auckland.

September 20, 2016

Taste of the Emmys: Celebrity Connected’s crafty suite

Elyse Glickman/10.26

Elyse Glickman

Imagine being immersed into the Food Network world for a day—that’s what VIPs and select press experienced when they entered the Great Room of the W Hotel Hollywood when Celebrity Connected took it over and transformed it into an unusually crafty Emmy suite.
   The space was awash with samples, sips, and all kinds of wonderful aromas—so many of them, in fact, that it was hard to walk around as tote bags carried by celebrities expanded and one demonstration was more eye-catching than the next. In many cases, one small space and a galaxy of celebrities cramming into it could be a recipe for disaster. However, there was just something about lively product demos, delicious bites, friendly inventors and vendors, and a few cheeky items (Clone-a-Willy; Chakrubs—let their sites do the talking) that brought out the most cheerful demeanour in the guests.
   If you could sum up this event with a popular movie quote, it would be ‘Life is a banquet.’ Celebrity Connected took that concept to heart with such intriguing offerings as the Original New York Seltzer (yup, it’s back and in tons of flavours), the Real’s Fair Trade sugar, basmati rice and himalayan salt; a world of flavours from Corine’s Cuisine’s line of hot sauces; gorgeous, hand-painted Mora Estate wines from Sonoma; One and Done seasoning replacing salt and pepper with Texas-sized flavour; fruit and veggie chips from Seneca Foods; and superfood grains from Weeds & Seeds that can be used for cooking or eaten straight. And just in time for the upcoming holiday season, Unstick offered guests cooking demonstrations and convenience all rolled up and ready to save home cooks time with their non-stick reusable surfaces that are as easy to use as aluminum foil—but much better for the environment and safer for the body.
   On the other side of the food pyramid, Canada’s the Pie Hole and Florida’s the Cake Zone offered single serving cakes in perky Ball jars, while Sheppard’s Sweets offered samples of soulful indulgences for the holidays. Several brands of ice-cream-related treats competed for guests’ attention. However, Blast Ice Cream put on quite a show and Curious Creamery just may have revolutionized the artisanal ice-cream movement by putting the creativity and decadence of gourmet flavours into the hands of consumers—and all without an ice-cream machine. The ice-cream, as well as ice-cream cakes, can be brought to life with a whisk or blender, along with one’s preference of liquid (dairy, coconut milk, almond milk, coconut water and so on). Stirrings offered a full kit that could allow home entertaining mavens to stir up craft cocktails for their Emmy or holiday party with their most popular mixers, lemon drop Martini rim sugar, and more.
   The wearable items were mostly unisex and did make a definitive statement–‘I care about Fair Trade and the planet.’ The Casery was locked and loaded with adorable protective gear for the Iphone 7 (though cases for earlier models were available). Japanese designer Akiko Shinzato offered the right mix of retro-chic and modern Asian edge with her streamlined, universally flattering Vivon eyewear collection. Uashmama, meanwhile, epitomized Italian form and function with its unisex line of cross body bags and home accessories made from high-grade paper that looks and wears like leather.
   Although there were glamorous royal jelly lipsticks launched by Los Angeles brand Jafra, most products were wellness-driven, from Theramu’s restorative cream and sublingual pain remedies, to Haiku Organics’ soaps, DeP’s two-month face mask treatments (with reusable chic leopard print mask), Elyptol hand sanitizers, the UK’s PureSkin by Vanessa Blake, French company Bioderma, and Washdolly’s reusable make-up remover towels. However, we were moved by the story behind Vancouver-based the Pink House, a compact line of natural products founded by sisters Tracy Olesen and Karen Sjöberg. Sjöberg had been diagnosed with breast cancer and realized there was a need for simple but luxurious beauty products crafted without hazardous chemicals.—Elyse Glickman, US west coast editor

Elyse Glickman

September 14, 2016

Christian Louboutin creates limited-edition men’s capsule collection for

Lucire staff/18.48

Christian Louboutin has created a men’s capsule collection in a collaboration with, the boutique created by French professional athlete Henri Tai. offers activewear, sportswear and lifestyle fashion for men, with Louboutin creating a limited-edition men’s trainer range for the e-tailer.
   The four trainers are inspired by’s motto, ‘Mettre le sport en valeur,’ bearing the distinctive signature Christian Louboutin red sole, coupled with’s white, cobalt blue and black colour palette from its logo.
   Christian Louboutin said in a release, ‘It’s a real pleasure for me to touch and create some exclusive designs which, I think, represent the values that are dear to Henri: sport mixed with style in a fun and colourful way. I am thrilled to be part of the new adventure of’
   â€˜For me, clothes are an extension of myself, they let me express something about who I am, about my personality, but also they let me explore it. It is this vision that I want to bring to life with, and here it takes form through this wonderful capsule, which I feel very privileged to offer our clients exclusively,’ said Tai.
   The site also has useful articles and advice from top sportspeople, including Tony Parker, imparting tips and personal experiences. The store’s items have been selected by Tai personally.

Little Ghost expands by offering Lime Crime make-up in its new online boutique

Lucire staff/1.18

Little Ghost, known for its wallets, bags and clutches, has added Lime Crime make-up as it kicks off its new online boutique.
   Founder Amber Bibby says that Lime Crime has a similar outlook to her fashion accessories’ label, and selling the two together helps Little Ghost’s boutique become more of a single destination for individualistic, eclectic products.
   Bibby is a make-up artist herself, and is a fan of Lime Crime. ‘They lead the way in the hugely popular liquid to matte lipstick trend and were the first to introduce distinct and radical lip colours. Lime Crime promote expressing yourself unapologetically which made them the perfect launch partner,’ she said.
   Lime Crime is a cruelty-free brand, with no animal testing, and certifies its line as 100 per cent vegan.
   The launch range comprises Lime Crime’s Velvetines and Perlees for the lips, and Venus and Superfoils palettes for the eyes, priced between NZ$30 and NZ$60. For a limited time, the company is offering free shipping to New Zealand and Australian addresses.
   She says that Little Ghost is negotiating with other designers to expand its boutique further.

September 8, 2016

New Zealand singer Sophie Morris releases her first album, Songs from the Stage

Lucire staff/0.27

Aliana McDaniel

Rising star Sophie Morris, interviewed in 2013 in Lucire, will release her début album, Sophie Morris: Songs from the Stage, on October 28—perfectly timed for holiday gift-buying. The album features some favourite musical theatre numbers, including ‘It Might as Well Be Spring’ (State Fair) and ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ (Evita), and tracks such as ‘Nella Fantasia’ (from The Mission, by Ennio Morricone) and ‘O Holy Night’ (Adam).
   Morris, who is a classically trained soprano, is joined by Dunedin instrumentalists James Davy, Nancy Chen, Meg Davidson, Alan Starrat, John Dodd, Georgie Watts, and Alexandra Wiltshire, an established pianist and musical director.
   Dr Ian Chapman, Otago University senior lecturer in contemporary music, calls Morris ‘a groundbreaker’ and a ‘rare singer who can achieve such a high standard in both singing styles’.
   Marian Poole of the Otago Daily Times, says, ‘Morris is definitely the ascendant star.’
   Morris has recently finished playing Sandy in Grease: the Arena Spectacular Live.
   Two singles are being released in the lead-up: ‘Another Life’ from Jason Robert Brown’s The Bridges of Madison County and ‘Love Never Dies’ from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies. Both will be available on Itunes.
   Her EP album is currently available for listening and purchase on Bandcamp at

September 7, 2016

The Body Shop’s new eye shadows, foundation, masks—either 100 per cent vegan or vegetarian

Bhavana Bhim/6.40

The Body Shop welcomes the southern spring with 100 per cent vegan and vegetarian products to improve skin instantly, with ingredients from all over the world.
   Its new Down to Earth eye shadow quads and Down to Earth palettes feature blendable, highly pigmented earthy hues that throughout the day. The shades are blended with babassu and sesame oils, which prevent creasing. The formula of the pigment is enhanced to bring out natural beauty. Functionality is key, as each individual shade clicks in and out of the palette casing, so you can mix and match to your own taste.
   The earthy theme resonates as the products are 100 per cent vegan, suitable for sensitive eyes with no traces of petrolatum and mineral oil. The Down to Earth palette (NZ$64·95) contains eight shades inspired by the Earth’s pale sands, cool metals, warm clays and deep gemstones. The shades are named accordingly: Sahara Dune, Aztec Gold, Provence Ochre, Bengal Granite, Peru Clay, Kilmanjaro Rock, Zawar Zinc and Black Canyon Onyx. These allow you to create looks ranging from smooth mattes, glossy satins and glimmering consistencies.
   To accompany the eight-shaded palette, the Body Shop have released new Down to Earth Eye shadow quads (NZ$49·95). The quads are available in five colour combinations, each designed to flatter every eye shade. We sampled Down to Earth quad 3, which contains the shades India Rose Quartz, Atlas Rhassoul, Cerro Rico Silver and Siberia Anthracite. The earthy rose quartz works well as a base, with seamless application. The three grey–metallic tones complement the rose quartz shade to give a statement smoky eye.
   To apply the eye shadow is the 100 per cent cruelty-free double-ended brush (NZ$33·95). The lightweight dual-purpose brush eases application: there is a buff brush to easily blend in the shadow, accompanied by a blunt-angled brush to quickly tight line the eyes. The handle is made from FSC elm wood and cruelty-free bristles. You can dampen the blending brush for a wet vibrant look, or apply dry.
   For a frantic lifestyle, the new Fresh Nude Cushion Foundation (NZ$53·50) is perfect for make-up coverage on the go. Made with 100 per cent organic Community Trade alÅ“ vera and English rose water, the foundation gives the skin a semi-matte texture and a natural yet even tone to the skin. Spare yourself time in the morning with the easy-to-blend cushion applicator which softly massages the foundation onto the surface of the skin. You simply push the cushion down to release the formula to a desired amount. This product is dermatologically tested, non-comedogenic, 100 per cent vegan-formulated, without petrolatum and mineral oil.
   You can bring the spa to your door with the new range of Superfood face masks (NZ$39·95). Superfoods are known to help the body, so why not treat the skin with the Body Shop’s new range? The masks are made from 100 per cent vegetarian ingredients from around the world, inspired by traditional beauty remedies. Formulated without parabens, silicone, mineral oils and paraffins, theses naturally made products feed the skin with goodness.
   The Amazonian Açai Energizing Radiance Mask is 100 per cent vegan and inspired by the rituals of Amazonian tribes. The mask contains ingredients from South America. Açai berry extract is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C which fights off the appearance of fatigue. Guarana extract from Brazil is known for its energy-boosting properties; Community Trade organic babassu oil from Brazil smooths and revitalizes the skin. Apply a generous amount to the skin leave it on for 10–15 minutes and, soon enough, your skin will have its energy back.
   The Ethiopian Honey Deep Nourishing Mask is made from Community Trade honey, marula oil from Namibia and hydrating organic olive oil from Italy. This indulgent mask nourishes the skin, inspired by African healing and soothing rituals. The product is easy to apply to the skin; instantly, the surface appears replenished and rested. After the facial, the skin is softer and smoother in texture. The honey sourced from Ethiopia is rich in nutrients to revive skin. Marula oil from Namibia improves the skin’s elasticity, while the olive oil from Italy is rich in Omega 3 to help prevent dryness. All three ingredients work well to nourish the skin.
   The Chinese Ginseng and Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask brightens and removes unevenness from skin. The mask balances revitalizing ginseng, moisturizing rice extract from China, and Community Trade sesame seed oil from Nicaragua. The result is a creamy exfoliating mask which softens, evens, and reveals the brightness of the skin. Ginseng extract from China has been known for its skin-enhancing properties, while rice extract has traditionally been used to moisturize the skin. The mask smells divine, tingling the skin upon application. After application, skin imperfections are immediately reduced.
   The Body Shop’s British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask enhances the skin’s natural glow. Infused with rose petals, moisturizing rose essence from the UK, toning rosehip oil from Chile and Community Trade organic alÅ“ vera from México, this refreshing gel mask restores the skin’s moisture and gives it that petal-like smoothness. The mask is fragrant with the scent of roses, inspired by European bathing rituals. The ingredients gently calm the properties of the skin for a dewy youthful glow.
   Inspired by Ayurvedic traditions, the tingling Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask shakes up the skin’s senses. The mask combines powerful bamboo charcoal from the Himalayan foothills, exfoliating green tea leaves from Japan and potent Community Trade organic tea tree oil from Kenya. These ingredients cleanse impurities and excess oils from the skin, while the green tea leaves exfoliate the surface. This invigorating mud mask gives your skin an exhilarating new lease of life. Apply a generous amount; once the mask hardens and draws excess oil from the skin, gently remove with warm water.
   All products go on sale on September 12.—Bhavana Bhim

September 3, 2016

Tania Dawson crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2016 in front of sold-out audience

Lucire staff/15.41

Alan Raga

Above: The moment: Tania Dawson hears the news that she’s been working toward for most of 2016, that she is the new Miss Universe New Zealand. Centre: After the announcement, Samantha McClung crowns her successor, Tania Dawson, Miss Universe New Zealand 2016. Above: Second runner-up Larissa Allen (left) and runner-up Seresa Lapaz (right) flank Miss Universe New Zealand 2016 Tania Dawson.

Secondary school drama and music studies’ teacher Tania Dawson, 23, was crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2016 Saturday night at Skycity Theatre, taking home prizes including a stay at Plantation Bay Resort & Spa in Cebu, Philippines and the use of a Honda Jazz RS Sport Limited for the duration of her reign.
   Dawson, who is of half-Filipina extraction, was also the crowd favourite, with a large group of supporters in the live theatre audience.
   The event proved to be a Filipina one-two, with Seresa Lapaz, who was born in the Philippines but is a naturalized New Zealander, coming runner-up.
   Both ladies hail from Auckland, while second runner-up Larissa Allen comes from Tauranga.
   Dawson was crowned by her predecessor, Samantha McClung, who flew from Christchurch to join 2013 titleholder Holly Cassidy in a special parade featuring the exclusive designs of Ankia van der Berg of Golden Gowns.
   The sold-out audience enjoyed entertainment from special guest performers Stan Walker, Frankie Stevens, and Ali Walker, as well as the cast of Oh What a Night!, who appeared in a recorded segment filmed earlier on Saturday.
   The destination for Dawson, as well as the other national titleholders, is uncertain, but there have been suggestions it could be the Philippines, and already Lapaz has vowed to support her former competitor should she venture there.
   Dawson says she sees herself as an advocate for education, and entered the competition because she wanted to practise what she preached: to challenge herself and overcome any self-doubt.
   Repeating their roles from last year, Stephen McIvor and Sonia Gray hosted. Stevens was also on the judging panel (particularly appropriate given his similar role in NZ Idol), alongside motivational speaker and social practitioner Areena Deshpande, director of Head2Heels and former Miss Universe New Zealand director Evana Patterson, AJPR boss and BRCA cancer gene awareness champion Anna Jobsz, and arguably the top make-up practitioner and educator in New Zealand, Samala Robinson.
   Thanks to the support of Miss Universe New Zealand’s sponsors, including platinum partners Honda New Zealand, Bench, Skycity, the Quadrant Hotels and Suites, Golden Gowns and Beau Joie, and the fund-raising efforts of each year’s finalists, Miss Universe New Zealand cracked the $100,000 barrier with its donations to Variety, the Children’s Charity, this year.
   The stream was carried on Lucire, The New Zealand Herald and Stuff, and a delayed version will appear on 3Now.

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