When Candy Barry competes for the title of Miss World New Zealand in April, she hopes to gain more than a crown.
The 22-year-old grew up in Tauranga and hopes her participation in the pageant will help put the city on the map even more.
"I am really proud of where I come from," Miss Barry said.
She believes her upbringing in Tauranga has taught her how to adapt to any situation and, as she likes to push herself out of her comfort zone, sees the competition as "something to strive toward".
The winner of the New Zealand competition will represent the country at Miss World 2010 in Vietnam and Miss Barry said she would love to promote Tauranga overseas.
She is passionate about everything she does and wants to help women overcome body issues. This is something that inspired her entry in the competition, as she thinks taking part in the pageant will give her some credibility. "I'd like to empower women," she said.
When asked what she would tell those who do not see beauty pageants as "empowering women", Miss Barry said she did not think she could change their minds but added: "It's more than getting up there and showing off my body. It's about what I can do with the opportunity if I win and what I can gain from the experience."
She had been in touch with Annah Stretton, who she said would be "the ultimate person to work for".
"She does a lot of charity work and is a real entrepreneur with her fashion labels and magazines."
Miss Barry is completing a degree in marketing and public relations at Waikato University, which she hopes will help her achieve her dream.
Rehearsals for the competition begin on Saturday, with a group performance part of a show that includes swimsuit, evening gown, talent and national costume sections.
Miss Barry's national costume was inspired by the beaches in Tauranga and, as a keen supporter of New Zealand music, she will be dancing to a song by Sola Rosa in the talent section.