1. Tell us a little about yourself, your family background, education, and how you became Miss World New Zealand 2015.
I get my passion for health from my two parents, who both work as doctors. Everyday their aim is to give others full healthy and vibrant lives. Growing up they encouraged my two sisters and me that, ‘girls can do anything’ and to use our gifts to contribute to our communities as best we can, through living with a mantra of asking, "How can I help?"
I am fortunate to have received a diverse education. I have a First Class Honours Degree in Bioethics and a Masters in Entrepreneurship with Distinction. Over the last six years I have been studying medicine at the University of Otago and the day I leave for Miss World 2015 is the day I become a doctor!
2. How did you become interested in pageants?
The Miss World Organisation empowers individuals and communities. I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to empower myself – through improving my confidence, public speaking and skills as an ambassador. More importantly, I saw the Miss World Organisation as a way to spread a message of empowerment through the ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ aspect of the competition.
3. How does it feel to represent New Zealand in Miss World 2015?
I am absolutely delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to share New Zealand’s story at Miss World; the story of a small country who 123 years ago changed the world by becoming the first country to give women the right to vote. This led the way for the rest of the world for equal rights and a brighter future. I am looking forward to bringing New Zealand’s spirit of empowerment to Miss World.
4. Give three adjectives that your subconscious self would use to describe you.
Passionate, determined and caring.
5. Tell us about one life-changing experience in your life.
As a part of my medical degree, I spent ten weeks working at a hospice, a place where people spend the final days of their lives. It was heartbreaking to meet families who were losing their loved ones, yet enriching to support people through this. In this experience I witnessed the essence of what it is to be human – to live, to love and to create a legacy – regardless of the circumstances.
6. Mahatma Gandhi once said, "My life is my message.” Do you agree with this statement?
I believe that there is no more powerful way to see your vision fulfilled than by living it, and sharing the journey with others. I love this quote by Gandhi; it encourages people to live out their dreams, living from the heart and sharing from the heart.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
I love learning and getting involved in projects in my community. This led me to join Toastmasters International where I discovered my passion for public speaking and sharing my knowledge with others. I am so grateful this has created the opportunity for me to speak nationally and internationally about causes I am passionate about, especially the empowerment of others through health and education.
8. Name one of your strengths and one of your weaknesses.
As the saying goes, my greatest strength is also my greatest weakness. I work really hard at the things I care about which allows me to make real progress for causes that I believe in. However, the downside of this is that at times balancing my medical degree, LearnCoach (my social enterprise) and my other community involvements becomes a real challenge. It can feel like the time I put aside for sleep gets shorter and shorter. However, it is definitely worth it!
9. What is your opinion on same-sex marriage?
Love is universal, and I believe that the commitment of two people is special and should be celebrated. I am proud that New Zealand made same sex marriage legal in 2013, making steps towards a culture that is accepting all of people.
10. What makes New Zealand unique from the rest of the world?
New Zealand is a country of open spaces, open hearts and open minds. My beautiful hometown, Dunedin, is one of the only places in the world where you can surf at our beaches and ski on our mountains in the same day. I am grateful to have grown up in such a breathtaking and close-knit community.
11. If you could be featured on the cover of any magazine, what would it be and why?
I would love to be featured on the cover of Time magazine. This is because if I had created enough of a global impact to be featured on the cover of this magazine, it would mean that I had started to realize my vision of the empowerment of others through health and education all around the globe.
12. If you were to come back as an animal in the next life, what would you be and why?
I love the emperor penguin. They are beautiful nurturing creatures. They huddle together to protect each other from the cold, taking turns to stand on the outermost part of the huddle. They are loyal partners and family members, standing for months in a blizzard to ensure their partner is supported and their offspring grow up healthy and strong.
13. Tell us about your Beauty With A Purpose project and how does it relate to Miss World?
Three years ago I co-founded LearnCOACH a social enterprise that delivers free online tutorials to New Zealand students. We aim to reach those in the poorest and most remote areas, and our vision is to change the statistic that every year over 10,000 students leave high school in New Zealand with no qualifications and few future prospects.
Over the last three years we have worked very hard and I am proud to say that we have delivered over 1.7million free tutorials, reaching over 10,000 students across 150 high schools.
14. Why do you want to be Miss World 2015?
As a doctor I am passionate about the empowerment of others through health. As a lover of learning and co-founder of LearnCOACH I am passionate about the empowerment of others through education. The Miss World Organisation is a very special organisation that is passionate about the empowerment of individuals and communities all around the globe. I would love to have the opportunity, as Miss World, to share their message of empowerment and the spirit of New Zealand all around the globe.
Singer/Musician - Brooke Fraser is a talented New Zealand musician, who has stayed true to her values and I admire her for that.
Actor - Growing up I loved watching Sam Neil, a New Zealand actor, who featured in many blockbuster movies including Jurassic Park. I was a little girl with big dreams and watching him, a New Zealander starring in these amazing films, made me feel like anything was possible.
Actress - I love Sandra Bullock, especially in ‘The Blind Side’. She plays a woman who see’s the best in a character and chooses to give him a different life through empowering him and giving him opportunities to realise his talents, gifts and abilities for a positive purpose.
Colour - My favourite colour is Roseate, a beautiful pink colour. This means ‘new dawn’ and to me represents that each day is a fresh start and a new opportunity to move towards our vision for a better world
Fashion Designer - I love clothing that has a story behind it. Dame Trelise Cooper is a proudly New Zealand designer who creates garments to empower women. She uses beautiful strong prints and colours, with her motto being ‘afford generosity of spirit to those around you’. She applies her motto by using her business to promote environmental sustainability and support many local charities.
Perfume - My favourite range of perfume is ‘Pacific Perfumes’. These were created to reflect the essence of New Zealand and the Pacific.
Flower - I love flowers with a beautiful smell! Particularly beautiful is the ‘Orania Lily’ that has a wonderful fruity fragrance.
Writer - Sheryl Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, an author, a speaker and a mother. Reading her work has changed the way I view the world. I love the way she describes leadership, saying, ‘Leadership is the expectation that you can use your voice for good. That you can make the world a better place…' and goes onto encourage readers to utilise the gifts they have been given saying, ‘…I hope that you – yes you – have the ambition to lean in to your career and to run the world’
Book - Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead’ encourages women to ‘Lean In’ to their life and create a vision and a legacy in order to create a more equal world.
Movie - Sandra Bullock, in my favourite movie, ‘The Blind Side’, gives a young man a different future and a better life by empowering him to use his talents and gifts in a positive way. I love the message of this movie, that each of us can also use our gifts to empower others.
Quote - Walt Disney once said "All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to believe them." This quote that I have used throughout my reign as Miss World New Zealand, with a vision to use this special title and the gifts given to me by grace to empower others through health and education.