A former Miss Universe finalist and entrepreneur who died suddenly last week had been struggling running her business due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Amber-Lee Friis, 23, was just venturing into the world of online fashion when Covid-19 struck the world and turned everything upside down.

She died last Monday, leaving behind devastated family and friends.

Despite selling out of clothing less than a week after her website went live, it is understood the business struggled in the last few weeks as restrictions meant they could not restock as orders could not be processed immediately.


Her death also came about a month after the woman she dubbed her "second mum" died after more than a year trying to recover from a stroke, according to the Daily Mail Australia.

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In a unique show of emotion yesterday, friends of the young woman gathered to pay tribute by revving their cars - decked out with pink wheels - causing plumes of thick pink smoke to puff into the air.

Videos of the event show a group of young people gathering around a dark blue car revving loudly.

Another video shows a black hearse being followed by a line of vehicles; while some people stand on the side of the road waving to the hearse as it drives by.

A large banner with the words "Fly high Amber-Lee: Forever in our hearts" is also pictured being put up at the famous Titirangi Roundabout, in West Auckland.

One of Friis' friends, Hope Neilson, shared a photo and video with her friend; captioning a post: "Forever in our hearts. Throwback to one of the happiest days ever."

The video shows the two friends lying outside on a beautiful day; laughing as they look up at the sky.


Friis bursts into laughter as her friend takes the video.

Friis had big dreams and just over a week after New Zealand went into Covid-19 lockdown, she officially started her online fashion design business - 7 Moons Ltd.

The business offers clothing - including T-shirts and hooded jumpers - with unique animated illustrations.

On her business Instagram page, the last image shared on it depicts a picture of a young girl holding a black balloon as she looks at two paths in front of her.

'She overcame so much'

The one on the left shows a long road with green grass and white clouds in the sky. A signpost just in front reads: "Happiest place on earth".

The path to her right is also a long desert road with the signpost: "Route 666".

A caption reads: "Young and naive".

Last week, as news of Friis' death broke, the team at Miss Universe NZ shared a tribute of its own via its official social media pages.

Alongside a dramatic photo of Friis in a long gold gown with a cape flowing softly behind her, the post described Friis as one of the most positive and supportive contestants the competition has had in its seven years of existence.

"She overcame so much to join us in the first place and she won our admiration and respect from the get-go.

"She was a beautiful, exciting and unique person with an extraordinary energy for life."

MWNZ said the young woman had remained a positive and supportive friend to the competition over the past few years and the establishment was proud to call her a friend.

"The world has lost a young woman who had so much to offer and that is an awful and absolute tragedy. Rest in peace, Amber. You've gone too soon and we will all miss you."


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