James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Crown meant for 'another Indian girl', beauty queen told

Beauty pageant winner Synthia Nath wants compensation for mix-up in the pageant. Photo / Dean Purcell
Beauty pageant winner Synthia Nath wants compensation for mix-up in the pageant. Photo / Dean Purcell

A woman who was announced as a winner at a beauty pageant was told by organisers two days after her victory that her prize was meant for "another Indian girl".

She was told she could still compete at an international competition, but would have to raise at least $3000 for flights to Turkey.

Synthia Nath is seeking an apology and compensation after she was apparently confused with Loriza Latif, another Indian contestant, which organisers of the Face of Beauty International Ltd pageant said was an "honest mistake" because the pair "look alike".

The 19-year-old applied science student at AUT had to pay $500 to enter the competition and was announced Miss Globe New Zealand 2014 at the May 10 event held in Papakura. Lydia Smit of Morrinsville was the overall winner.

Miss Nath, originally from Fiji, called one of the organisers to get clarity about her prize because her friends and family were interested to know.

"They told me, 'Do you have $3000?'

"I was shocked, I was like, 'Aren't you supposed to give me the money?' They were like 'No' and asked if I had the three grand or not."

Miss Nath's "prize" was a trip to the Miss Globe International pageant to be held in Turkey next month. The catch was she had to pay herself or find sponsorship.

She told the organiser she could not come up with the money in such a short time as the pageant had cost her more than $1000, which included her dress and entry fee.

She then called Milagros Manuel, who is the chief executive of Face of Beauty International Ltd, and told her of her predicament.

"She said, 'Good, you don't have the money. Give the crown and sash back, I have other girls lined up'", Miss Nath said.

Miss Nath went back to the organiser the following day and received another blow when she was told they'd made a mistake in announcing her the winner.

"She said, 'I mixed up the name somehow and it was another Indian girl that should have won.'"

Miss Nath was asked to give the crown and sash back to the winner. She did so but the organiser offered to give it back to her, saying in an email, seen by the Herald: "You can keep it and pretend that you still are Miss Globe."

Miss Nath felt her reputation had been tarnished by the experience. She is seeking compensation for the entry fee and $420 for 10 tickets she sold, another condition of entry.

Ms Manuel told the Herald the announcement naming another girl as the winner of the Miss Globe New Zealand award was an "honest mistake" on behalf of the organiser because Miss Nath and the winner "look alike".

She said contestants were aware of the costs of attending pageants overseas before the winners were crowned.

- NZ Herald

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