Beauty queen with a quest for Cambodia
A young beauty queen will be putting her best foot forward for charity when she struts her stuff at the Miss Universe New Zealand competition later this month.
Ayva Hayden, 23, found herself suddenly stuck earlier this year when her pageant sponsors pulled out for financial reasons, jeopardising her entry into the country’s biggest beauty competition.
The Grey Lynn resident took matters into her own hands and rallied the support of her friends and family.
She says it was a bit of a last minute panic having to come up with the cash.
“I was ringing everyone, basically being told no.”
She even tried auctioning herself on TradeMe to attract a sponsor, but ended up withdrawing the listing.
But with the help of friends and family she raised the $3375 needed for her entry and will be representing a charity called Caring for Cambodia instead of a business sponsor.
It’s an organisation that’s close to her heart – she plans to go and teach children in Cambodia as a volunteer.
After visiting Thailand and South East Asia on a recent overseas trip, she was moved by the poverty she saw.
“You’re in a five-star hotel, you look down and see corrugated iron shacks and people living over river beds,” she says.
“Teaching there is a life experience I’ve always wanted to have.”
Although she qualifi in 2007 to enter the Miss Universe New Zealand competition last year, her overseas travel meant she had to postpone until this year.
She says she’s looking forward to competing.
The final will be held in Levin on April 25 and if Ayva wins, she’ll travel to the Bahamas for the Miss Universe competition in August.
She is still relatively new to the world of beauty contests, only entering her first one in 2006 after being encouraged by a friend.
And unlike the pageant dramas portrayed on TV, she says it’s a lot of fun and has been a huge confidence builder.
“If I am able to go out in a bikini in front of all those people, I can do anything.”