Tauranga pair make their mark in Oz

By Michele McPherson

She's travelled all over the world and modelled in swimwear on sunkissed beaches for one of the world's biggest surfwear companies.
Now former Tauranga girl Rebecca Ronald has made a name for herself in the pageant industry.
The 20-year-old blonde, blue-eyed beauty was one of five girls selected as finalists in the Queensland part of the search for Miss Universe Australia on Wednesday.
She will contest the finals in Melbourne early next month against finalists from all over Australia.
But a schedule packed with travelling and photo shoots for Billabong and exercise clothing label Lorna Jane has kept her busy, meaning she only had a few days to prepare for the Queensland finals, her mother, Tracey Ronald said.
She was "so proud of her daughter" and said she deserved success with Miss Universe Australia.
"She works so hard and she's been doing really well. She's just a little Tauranga girl who's been doing really well for herself."
"She believes in herself and she puts in the hard work and she's got where she is through her drive, determination and ambition".
Mrs Ronald said her daughter's entry into the Miss Australia pageant was "completely unexpected".
"It was something she never thought she would be doing but it's helped her gain confidence talking in front of people."
"She's a surfy girl, she's a real tomboy and she loves her contract with Billabong... and this has been an exciting experience for her."
When Miss Ronald was announced a Miss Australia finalist, she told the Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper the three-round pageant, involving swimwear, evening wear and personality questions, passed in a blur.
"It feels really good, I'm so happy and now the reality is sinking in that I'm through to the national finals," Miss Ronald said.


"The whole day I was super at peace with everything.
"I was excited, but I hadn't even thought about the question-and-answer part, and when we all walked out to be told I really wasn't expecting to get my name called out, I was just having fun with all the other girls and mucking around."
Miss Ronald said she entered into the competition to be a role model for teens. She lives in the Gold Coast but travels all over Australia with her Billabong contract and other modelling jobs.
Another former Tauranga girl making headlines is former Tauranga Girls' College student Alyssa Stringfellow who has started a career in film acting .
Now based in Australia, Miss Stringfellow has landed the lead in Australian feature film, Calendar Girls.
Miss Stringfellow said she was the only Kiwi in the film, which was "really exciting".
She was also recently named Miss Australia in international pageants Miss Humanity International and Miss Supermodel of Asia.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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