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Pageant push 'surreal,' says beauty queen

Collette Lochore arrives back in Auckland yesterday after appearing in the Miss World competition in China. Photo / Natalie Slade

It's the moment dubbed the "pageant push", and it has had more than 115,000 YouTube views. The victim, Kiwi beauty queen Collette Lochore, says it was just plain "surreal". The 18-year-old Miss World New Zealand, was posing on stage when she was jostled out of camera view by Miss Malawi, Susan Mtegha

After a short verbal exchange between the two, Ms Mtegha elbowed Ms Lochore out of view and stood smiling in her place. "It's crazy. It was streaming live ... and there I am getting pushed off my mark on stage," Ms Lochore told the Herald when she arrived at Auckland Airport last night.

 Ms Lochore, who did not see the video until a transit stop in Sydney yesterday, said she was still in a state of disbelief. 

"All you can do is just hold your own and represent New Zealand how you want to."

The competition in the inner Mongolian city of Ordos in China pitted 116 beauty queens against one another. The top prize was was won by Miss China, Yu Wenxia.

But it was the on-stage jostle that caught everyone's attention.

Despite the incident, Ms Lochore said she harboured no bad feelings towards Miss Mtegha, a fashion designer and dancer. 

Speaking from Shanghai on Monday, the director of Miss World NZ, Desmond Foulger, said he would complain about the incident. 

However, Ms Lochore said she had asked Mr Foulger not to make an official complaint. "I think it has nothing to do with the Miss World pageant. "They just had no control over what the contestants were doing and it wasn't at the standard we felt it should have been." 

This year's pageant is likely to be Ms Lochore's last, but she would like to help the next Miss World NZ do her best and focus on the pageant's association with charity work. 

Ms Lochore said she had raised $26,000 which will go towards helping children and the disadvantaged around the world. She teaches drama to young people aged 3 to 18. This year she was inducted as the youngest member of the New Lynn Rotary Club. 

By Harry Pearl SOURCE: New Zealand Herald,  8/22/2012  


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