A Napier woman, who was crowned Miss Universe New Zealand in August, says she is eagerly awaiting the international competition in Las Vegas this afternoon (NZT).
Nineteen-year-old Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia is up against more than 90 other contestants from around the world for Miss Universe which is being held at The AXIS at Planet Hollywood starting at 4pm (7pm Sunday Pacific Standard Time).
She has spent the last couple of weeks touring Las Vegas and promoting the show's sponsors, as well as auditions with the judges and a photoshoot.
"I was privileged to attend the Celine Dion concert and also the Donny and Marie Osmond Show," she said.
"We've also been to lots of different restaurants and we have had walking workshops and rehearsals with the famous model Lu Sierra."
Miss Ihaia said she is feeling good ahead of the competition and hopes to win the crown but knows she has given it her all either way.
"It would mean everything to me to win. I have done my best in interviews, modelling the evening gown and bikini at the preliminary competition, so it's just a waiting game now.
"I'm satisfied with my efforts and how I have represented my country.
"I think all 92 women have a chance as we are all confidently beautiful women who have a passion to make a difference."
Part of her preparation has been learning to do hair and makeup through YouTube tutorials and she has been coached by Lu Sierra.
The other contestants have been incredibly supportive of each other, she said.
"We all encourage each other.
"I have made lots of new friends who are also planning to come and visit New Zealand and stay with me so that's so awesome to make friends all over the world.
"The best thing about this journey is meeting powerful women who want to make a change in our world."
When she first entered Miss Universe New Zealand earlier this year she had the goal of inspiring and empowering women to be themselves, confident and to love their bodies.
"If I were to win this would give me the chance to have the biggest platform to inspire women about body image and being confidently beautiful in loving yourself no matter what you look like."
The experience has taught her not to underestimate herself and to realise that she is beautiful just the way she is, Miss Ihaia said.
"I have grown so much from the shy woman I was entering Miss Universe New Zealand.
"I can now say I am confident to do anything that life may throw at me.
"My passion now is to inspire so I can only inspire by walking my talk and stepping out of my comfort zone and showing our youth and little girls that we can do anything when we put our minds to it."
After the competition Miss Ihaia will stay in Las Vegas for a holiday and returns to New Zealand on December 1.
Ten members of her family met her in Las Vegas last week.
The only New Zealander to win either Miss Universe or Miss World was Lorraine Downes in 1983.