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Send Sam positive vibes as Miss Universe 2008 kicks into high gear


July 6, 2008/11.22

Samantha Powell, as photographed by Jack Yan—copyright ©2008 by Jack Yan & AssociatesPreliminaries for Miss Universe began Sunday, where the contes­tants model in their bikinis; and the inter­views on Monday are three minutes long, with three judges.
   This surprises me, because we inter­viewed the contes­tants in New Zealand over a mini­mum of 10 minutes with ?ve judges—and I dare say, though I never timed the sessions, that we might well have hit 15 minutes in some cases.
   I do know that the meet-and-greet and inter­views took us well into 11 p.m. this year and midnight last year.
   It’s certainly harder for judges to know the candid­ates based on a cursory interview, but I imagine with a larger group of girls, time is more limited.
   Samantha Powell, Miss New Zea­land 2008, will have less time to wow the judges in a three-minute pitch, which in some respects goes against the more relaxed way New Zealand­ers, in general, conduct even busi­ness meetings. It’s not about the pitch, but getting to know someone.
   Nevertheless, every contestant is on an equal footing.
   What we tried to do was ?nd someone who could remain con?dent regardless of the situation, and I think Sam—who can think well on her feet—was the right choice. 
   Reading her email back home, details of which I won’t reveal for privacy, Sam isn’t fazed and she will do well for Aotearoa.
   I’m sure readers in New Zealand join me in wishing her well as the competition kicks into high gear—with the major presentation show on Wednesday. Good luck, Sam!

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