Whitby beauty has change of direction
Some people grow up dreaming of entering a beauty pageant but Whitby’s Kelsey Odell, 19, was head hunted.
Miss Odell’s pageant career was launched when a casual visit to her beautician to have her eyelashes done ended up with her competing in the 2012 Miss Hutt Valley competition.
She was first runner-up and went back to normal life until months later Miss Universe New Zealand organisers phoned, wanting her to compete.
Miss Odell described herself as an everyday girl who never dreamed of taking part in a pageant.
‘‘I was just a typical Whitby girl. I went to Adventure School and Aotea College and just set about getting a job after finishing school,’’ she said.
‘‘I was really shy in those days, so they had to ask me several times to be in the competition, but I’m so glad I finally said yes.
‘‘Taking part in the pageants has changed my life in so many ways. I am a much more confident woman than I could ever have thought possible.’’
Her mother, Karen Odell, said she had really noticed a positive effect on her daughter from the competitions.
‘‘She’s become so much more confident. It’s amazing,’’ she said.
‘‘But it’s also about her realising her dreams and chasing them.’’
Winning Miss New Zealand will be no simple stroll down the catwalk in an evening gown.
Under new management, the competition has been changed entirely.
Swimsuits are off the stage and back on the beach, the infamous question- and- answer session is gone, thanks in no small part to Miss Utah’s recent viral video. The women also attend a boot camp to learn about the media, modelling and living in the spotlight.
This week they travel to a mystery location, where the swimsuit photos to be screened at the October 5 competition will be taken.
Miss Odell doesn’t know quite what to expect, but is very excited about travelling overseas with her new pageant friends.
‘‘The directors said it will be like X-Factor, New Zealand’s Got Talent and Idol all rolled into one,’’ she said.
‘‘I’ve only ever been to Australia, so I’m looking forward to seeing where we’ll be travelling to.
‘‘It’s going to be a little strange as it will all be filmed as part of the judging process and shared over social media.’’
She said she hoped that Whitby would support its hometown beauty queen by liking her Facebook page when votes open on September 5.
Miss New Zealand executive director Nigel Godfrey said that creating a new type of pageant would help find the true Miss New Zealand.
Organisers removed financial entry barriers by making the entry fee $10, made voting dependent on the public and made changes to the way the pageant was run to modernise the competition.
‘‘We are not here to make trainwreck television. It’s a pageant for the girls and by running it this way, people will get to know the contestants,’’ he said.
From September 5 text voting will open and allow people to vote for their favourite contestant. Revenue made from texts will go to the Variety charity.
The Miss New Zealand winner will get a contract with modelling agency Nova and will travel to Moscow to compete in this year’s Miss Universe competition.
Hopeful: Kelsey Odell of Whitby has her fingers crossed for this week’s Miss Universe New Zealand competition.