Whitby beauty has change of di­rec­tion

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By MATT SHAND

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.

Photo: MATT SHAND

Hope­ful: Kelsey Odell of Whitby has her fin­gers crossed for this week’s Miss Uni­verse New Zealand com­pe­ti­tion.

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