'We're on a roll' - NZ beauty queens making a comeback




After years of not placing at international pageants, New Zealand beauty queens are finally making a comeback thanks to Kiwi beauty Ariel Pearse.

Ms Pearse is the country's latest international winner who arrived home from Malaysia this week after being crowned Miss Tourism International 2016/2017.

The 24-year-old spent more than three weeks in the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, competing with 59 other young women from around the world.

She told 1 News she felt "proud and grateful" to bring the crown home to New Zealand.

During the competition she didn’t expect to win because she felt that coming from a small nation was a disadvantage.

"We don’t have that much to offer them in terms of viewers," she says.

"I felt like it wasn’t possible. I was really grateful and it meant that a lot of things had to happen on order for me to actually win."

Kiwi beauty queen Ariel Pearse (middle) competed with 59 other young women from around the world to win the Miss Tourism International crown.

Kiwi beauty queen Ariel Pearse (middle) competed with 59 other young women from around the world to win the Miss Tourism International crown.

Source: Ariel Pearse/Facebook

Ms Pearse says the pageant, which started in 1994, is aimed at promoting tourism, culture and friendship.

She believes it was her willingness to integrate herself within the Malaysian culture which made her stand out to the judges.

“I just immersed myself in everything Malaysian and for my talent I sang a Malaysian song, she says.

And for them I think it was touching because they obviously love their country and appreciated seeing someone showing appreciation.”

Ms Pearse's  journey with pageants began as a finalist in Miss World NZ 2016 when she was crowned Miss Tourism International NZ.

In August 2016 another Kiwi beauty Adele Krantz won Miss Regal International held in the Caribbean Island of Antigua.

Ms Krantz was excited to hear another New Zealander had won an international title.

“When Ariel won hers I was like ‘Oh my gosh New Zealand is on a roll. We’re kicking butt’.”

Ms Krantz says New Zealanders are doing so well because they have “this can-do attitude”.

“We’ve got beautiful girls that are entering, who are not just beautiful, but they’re really intelligent and down to earth.

“And that kind of gives us a little bit of an edge.”

As the winner Ms Pearse was awarded with a scholarship for studies at the Lim Kok Wing University of Creative Technology London Global Campus Programme.

She currently works as a flight attendant and studied a Bachelor of Applied Social Entrepreneurship.

Another major moment for New Zealand pageantry was in 2015 when Doctor Deborah Lambie placed in the top 15 out of around 120 other women.

The same year Rachel Harradence won the Miss Cosmopolitan World title in Malaysia.

The last and only time a New Zealander won the International Miss Universe title was in 1983 by Lorraine Downes.

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