Beauty fights rejection
A DAY after winning the Miss Universe New Zealand crown, Pretoria-born Avianca Bohm said she is not a Kiwi.
Despite the 22-year-old dismissing it as "just paperwork", the New Zealand Herald reported yesterday that she may not be able to represent her adopted country in Donald Trump's Miss Universe pageant in December.
The newspaper reported that Bohm was still not a naturalised Kiwi, and "unless the citizenship is fast-tracked, she is unlikely to be able to attend" the pageant.
Bohm represented the Auckland suburb of Howick.
Pageant director Val Lott was quoted in the Herald as saying she was only allowed in for "a lot of confidence- boosting".
Bohm, who moved to New Zealand with her parents and sister in 2006, was quoted as saying: "It's just the paperwork. I mean, New Zealand is such a multicultural country. It's not an issue to me at all. I'm not even worried about that."
When The Times spoke to her yesterday morning, she was still confident of going to the Miss Universe pageant, saying she was looking forward to competing against South Africa's Melinda Bam.
Bohm started out at Free State's Harrismith Primary School before moving to Laerskool Nellie Swart in Pretoria. She went to CR Swart High School and then to Hoerskool Oos-Moot, both in Pretoria.
Her family moved to Auckland after her father got a job as a quantity surveyor there.
She recently graduated with a diploma from the New Zealand Institute of Fashion Technology.
Although she struggled with the Kiwi accent, Bohm said she had to adapt very quickly.
She later met Lott, who at the time needed models for a racehorse event called Fashion in the Field, and Bohm was introduced to modelling.
Bohm said: "When I started out in Miss Howick pageants, I placed fifth, but I knew I could do better because the first time I forgot to wear my shoes and sash on stage. So I went back and finished second. I still wanted to win, and eventually I did last year."
After her win on Sunday, Jack Yan, who headed the judging panel, said Bohm "has that je ne sais quoi" that helped place her ahead of first runner-up Talia Bennett and Lauren Mann, second runner-up).