North beauties in bid to be Miss Universe

By Sophie Ryan

Two Northland girls are vying for the tiara of Miss Universe NZ.

Priscilla de Groen Hutchinson of Kaingaroa and Minnie-May Hina of Whangarei have made it through to the final 20 girls, out of hundreds of contestants.

The two teens are both new to the beauty pageant scene and are hoping to be crowned Miss Universe NZ, live on television from SkyCity in Auckland on October 5.

The initial flood of entries was cut back to 80, who all attended boot-camps in Auckland and Wellington, where the final 20 were chosen.

On August 27, the girls will be thrust in to the spotlight at their big reveal on the Breakfast show, when the location will be announced where the final 20 will be spending a week for their bikini photo-shoots.

Minnie-May, 18, is living in Auckland, studying for a bachelor of business at AUT, and friends and whanau encouraged her to enter the competition.

She said her time at the boot-camp in Auckland included a media workshop, make-up classes and a professional photo-shoot.

"I've always wanted to do it, so now to be a part of it, it's great."

She was Northland's Top Model at the 2008 Bernina Northland Fashion Awards.

Priscilla grew up seeing her mother being part of beauty pageants, and now it is her turn to participate.

She said she was over the moon to be part of the top 20. She hopes to have a career in the performing arts or in the media.

Executive producer Nigel Godfrey said this year's competition was a totally different experience from the Miss Universe NZ of the past. "I don't live in pageant-land. This is a new invention of the competition, it's an entertainment show."

The winner will be the girl with the highest score, made up of 50 per cent judges' score and 50 per cent text votes.

She will go on to represent New Zealand at the prestigious Miss Universe contest in Moscow later this year.

- Northern Advocate

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