Tal­ent makes no miss-take

South Waikato News - - Front Page - LUKE KIRKEBY

Pop star Tay­lor Swift’s squad has got noth­ing on this year’s Miss A&P Toko­roa con­tes­tants.

Yes they’re a tight knit group of 11 young woman and yes there’s hair, makeup, heels and fancy clothes but un­like Swift’s there is no cat­ti­ness.

The girls, aged from 14-18, are all fo­cused on gain­ing con­fi­dence within them­selves, be­com­ing com­fort­able with pub­lic speak­ing, and per­haps most im­por­tantly cre­at­ing friend­ships out­side their nor­mal cir­cles, all while sup­port­ing each other to be­come the best they can be.

Or­gan­iser and lo­cal fash­ion de­signer Sarah Seer­den, who re­cently took over the run­ning of the event with Thea Kei­th­matchitt, said this year’s con­test has at­tracted more con­tes­tants than it has had in years.

‘‘Most years they have only man­aged to at­tract around five but I was not keen to run it that low,’’ she said.

‘‘... it is not a beauty con­test like a lot of peo­ple think, it is about build­ing con­fi­dence and giv­ing them a safe en­vi­ron­ment to flour­ish.’’

Sheer­den said the girls have been busy since en­ter­ing the com­pe­ti­tion. They have cre­ated their own wear­able arts pieces por­tray­ing their var­i­ous spon­sors, run a raf­fle to raise money for teen sui­cide pre­ven­tion through CASPER, and cre­ated fas­ci­na­tors to wear dur­ing the Mel­bourne Cup.

They are now pre­par­ing for a fash­ion show on Novem­ber 26 at the Toko­roa Club from 7-10pm.

‘‘I have also or­gan­ised lo­cal Toko­roa tal­ent that has moved on and mak­ing their ca­reer out of it to come back and per­form in­clud­ing Ab­bie Harker-fer­gus­son who is a tal­ented solo singer and for­mer For­est View High School head boy Sasha Te Whare’s band Sum­mit3.’’

‘‘I think it is fan­tas­tic these young peo­ple have agreed to come back to per­form in Toko­roa to show the younger 14 to 18 year olds what you can achieve when you be­lieve in your­self and any­one and ev­ery­one is able to come along for $5,’’ she said.

She said the girls will then take part in the Christ­mas pa­rade on De­cem­ber 3 fol­lowed by the A&P show where over­all plac­ings will be an­nounced.

‘‘They have all grown, I have seen mas­sive changes and i’m hop­ing even more girls take part next year as I’d like to take it to 20,’’ she said.

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