Beauty contestant enters new territory

By Shauni James

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Rotorua's Chantel Kennedy is a 2016 Miss World New Zealand finalist. Photo / Stephen Parker
Rotorua's Chantel Kennedy is a 2016 Miss World New Zealand finalist. Photo / Stephen Parker

For Chantel Kennedy entering a beauty pageant was a chance to step out of her comfort zone.

The 19-year-old student from Ngongotaha has been selected as one of 14 2016 Miss World New Zealand finalists.

She told the Rotorua Daily Post she applied in order to "step out of my comfort zone and experience something new".

Miss Kennedy has a busy schedule, with pageant workshops in Auckland every Saturday until the finals night on June 4 as well as studying fulltime at Waiariki Institute of Technology towards a Bachelor in Creative Technologies.

The workshops so far have included health and nutrition, catwalk and dance as well as a Presenter's Platform, where contestants practised public speaking, interviewing and being in front of the camera.

She said that workshop with Paulus Romijn was probably her favourite, because they got to watch themselves on video, which was "quite scary" at first.

"He does a lot of work with a lot of people. He taught us to feel confident."

Her aunty Virginia Kennedy said it was "kind of a shock" that her niece entered the pageant.

"[We] thought she would go off to university and just worry about education. Our family supports her 100 per cent."

Beauty With a Purpose is a Miss World tradition, and contestants are fundraising to help build a new basketball court and playground for Ronald McDonald House in Auckland.

Miss Kennedy has had a garage sale and held a bake stall at the Rotorua Night Market and is also hoping to organise a family fun day in Ngongotaha, kids' discos and a fashion show at Waiariki.

She is sponsored by Tease Botanix in Tauranga, personal trainer Calem Whare from TOA Advanced Health & Fitness and Waiariki has sponsored fabrics for an evening gown and cocktail dress to be made by designer Deborah de Loree.

- To follow her journey, go to Chantel Kennedy - Miss World New Zealand Finalist 2016 on Facebook.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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