Beauty queen puts crown in jeopardy

By Celeste Gorrell Anstiss

Miss Universe New Zealand Avianca Bohm has until August 1 to get a New Zealand passport. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Miss Universe New Zealand Avianca Bohm has until August 1 to get a New Zealand passport. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Controversial Miss Universe New Zealand Avianca Bohm is on the verge of losing her crown after a tell-all interview with a South African newspaper in which she appeared to insult organisers - and Auckland rugby.

Days before an announcement is due on whether officials will fast-track her citizenship to allow her to compete in the world finals in Las Vegas in December, Bohm has slammed Miss Universe New Zealand organiser Val Lott for distorting the facts in the row over her eligibility to "save her own ass".

Afrikaans newspaper Rapport reported Bohm, 22, also said the Blues rugby side "suck" - a comment that riled Lott but is hardly inaccurate. But she also said Kiwis buckled more under pressure than South Africans and never stand a chance against them in the Miss Universe contest.

In the article, Bohm went on to say she missed her native country and stuck mostly with South Africans in New Zealand. She would return to South Africa to find a husband, she added.

The interview also shed light on Bohm's tumultuous upbringing - her sister was kidnapped and her father had a gun put to his head several times before the family decided to move to New Zealand when she was 16.

Bohm said she had been up-front about her citizenship status to Miss New Zealand organisers and was rightfully crowned the winner.

Bohm said she was hurt her official duties had been given to the other finalist when questions were raised over her eligibility because she didn't have citizenship.

Bohm, a fashion design graduate, initially fell out with Lott when she refused to surrender the crown. The two eventually made up and agreed on an August 1 deadline for her citizenship to be granted.

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain is due to make his decision next week.

But Lott said she had informed Miss World officials in the United States of the article and Bohm could be disqualified for her conduct.

"Avianca always displayed a difficult personality. This shows what sort of character she is," Lott said. "They kiss you one day, then kick you in the teeth the next."

She now hoped runner-up Talia Bennett would be able to step up to the role.

"Talia Bennett is a very humble, gracious person," Lott said.

Lott wrote to Bohm demanding an apology: "Talking about the Blues so crudely was unlady-like and a disgrace; to say I have changed my story to save my butt is also another untruth.

"You have a lot to answer for when you see me upon your return."

- Herald on Sunday

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