She's a beauty queen who favours inner beauty over outward appearances.
Now the publicity on Rhonda Grant's success in a major pageant has started a beauty of a spat.
The Association of University Staff yesterday took issue at Massey University "promoting the campus" by publicising the science graduate's third place in the Miss Universe New Zealand contest - complete with pictures - on its website.
It dubbed the piece "one of the most banal news features emanating from a university this year".
The university responded that the reported criticism included "unfortunate" misinformation - but would not elaborate on what was wrong.
The union noted the picture of the 22-year-old in "a bikini, kneeling in the surf" was removed just hours after it was put up and claimed its disappearance suggested the university administration admitted it was inappropriate.
University spokesman James Gardiner told the Herald the image supplied by Ms Grant was pulled after "some" complaints.
"We did not wish to offend anyone," he said. "Celebrating student achievement in all areas of endeavour, be they academic, sporting or cultural, has always been encouraged by Massey University."
Ms Grant - a Heart Foundation health promotions co-ordinator in Napier, who is also doing a graduate diploma in Maori development through the university's extramural programme - stayed silent yesterday.
However, in an interview last month with Hawke's Bay Today, owned by Herald publisher APN, Ms Grant said she found the pageant interesting, full-on and challenging.
"It is such a different world from where people like myself as a community worker come from," she said.
"It's cool to be rewarded for looking after myself, making the most of the beauty I've been given and, most importantly, working on myself from the inside out. I think I am more beautiful inwardly than outwardly and to me that is more important."
Miss Universe NZ national director Val Lott said Ms Grant was more than just a pretty face. She said the criticisms were totally unfounded and played to incorrect stereotypes.
"How ridiculous," she said. "I've got doctors, lawyers and accountants [as contestants] - that's absolute rubbish. And Rhonda herself has a degree."By Martha McKenzie-Minifie Email Martha