Miss Manawatu ready to ful­fil her role

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

Newly crowned Miss Manawatu Michelle Feld­berg is ready for what­ever her new role brings.

Feld­berg was cho­sen from a line-up of 26 women at the pageant on July 23 to wear the crown last com­peted for in 2014.

The 24-year-old ad­min­is­tra­tor and pro­fes­sional dance in­struc­tor with a Di­ploma in Com­mer­cial Dance from Welling­ton Per­form­ing Arts, said the im­pli­ca­tions of her win were ‘‘slowly sink­ing in’’.

‘‘I en­tered Miss Manawatu in 2012, and loved it. It was a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence, and I got to meet so many lovely, beau­ti­ful girls, as well as dress up and look pretty.’’

Feld­berg came out of the 2012 con­test as sec­ond run­ner-up and said tak­ing part gave her self con­fi­dence.

‘‘My thoughts about go­ing into the com­pe­ti­tion were pri­mar­ily to be a bless­ing to the girls around me, and to Kate [Bal­four]... Kate did an amaz­ing job of this pageant... it was even bet­ter than the first time. My aim was to use my ex­pe­ri­ence to help and en­cour­age the other women.’’

As far as hav­ing any ex­pec­ta­tions of win­ning, there were none, she said.

‘‘I en­tered not nec­es­sar­ily ex­pect­ing to place - I was in it for the en­joy­ment of be­ing in it.

‘‘There were a lot of beau­ti­ful and in­tel­li­gent women this year. All I know is that I chose to be my­self throughout the com­pe­ti­tion, and to give my best at every work­shop and every re­hearsal.’’

The new Miss Manawatu ex­pressed her ad­mi­ra­tion for a pre­de­ces­sor, Louise Nel­son (2013) who started a young women’s men­tor­ing pro­gramme and also helped out be­hind the scenes with this com­pe­ti­tion.

If Feld­berg is to pass on her crown in 2017, some­one will need to take the pageant over fol­low­ing Bal­four’s re­tire­ment.

‘‘She’s left it in a great place. I hope some­one with fresh ideas will pick up where she left off.’’

With her first of­fi­cial Miss Manawatu func­tion as a model for the 25 Years of Women in Polic­ing cel­e­bra­tion last Tues­day, Feld­berg was ready to fully em­brace the op­por­tu­nity the role brings.

‘‘I would like to be a voice for women; to help them be em­pow­ered; to be a good ex­am­ple and a good am­bas­sador for the city, and to help out wher­ever I can.

‘‘Miss Manawatu is not about me, it’s about peo­ple - re­ally, my role is to serve.’’

DAVID UNWIN/ FAIRFAX NZ

Miss Manawatu Michelle Feld­berg con­ducts a dance class.

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