Pol­i­tics scholar en­ters pageant

Hamilton Press - - FRONT PAGE - GARY FAR­ROW

Tama­here res­i­dent and Miss Uni­verse con­tender Ella Mor­gan is bust­ing the stereo­types around the pageant.

The 18-year-old is in her second year at the Univer­sity of Waikato, study­ing po­lit­i­cal sci­ence and pub­lic pol­icy, and is pas­sion­ate about so­cial jus­tice.

She also runs a dance school, teach­ing classes in her com­mu­nity, which she has done since the age of 14.

‘‘I’ve never done any beauty pageants or any­thing like that,’’ Mor­gan said.

When she watched the grand fi­nal last year, she was in­spired by how much money the en­trants had raised for char­ity.

‘‘And I saw that the girls on stage had a plat­form where they could talk about is­sues that were re­ally im­por­tant to them,’’ Mor­gan said.

As a stu­dent of pol­i­tics and a com­mu­nity leader, she brings a unique per­son­al­ity to the con­test, and that’s why she wanted to bust the myth as to what Miss Uni­verse con­tes­tants are like.

‘‘Peo­ple tra­di­tion­ally think that beauty pageants are very fo­cused on skin deep beauty, and not fem­i­nist.

‘‘But af­ter be­ing part of this pageant, I com­pletely dis­agree,’’ Mor­gan said.

At univer­sity, she has stud­ied both eco­nomic and so­cial poverty, and be­come es­pe­cially mind­ful of how not all chil­dren in New Zealand have the same op­por­tu­ni­ties.

‘‘But the thing with study is you never re­ally get the prac­ti­cal op­por­tu­nity to ac­tu­ally make a dif­fer­ence, which is what I’m re­ally excited about with Miss Uni­verse,’’ Mor­gan said.

For ev­ery vote in Miss Uni­verse, a dol­lar goes to the Va­ri­ety Chil­dren’s Char­ity.

Miss Uni­verse en­trants are re­quired to be fundrais­ing en­trepreneurs, with Mor­gan plan­ning a day at a preschool where chil­dren dress up as what they want to be when they grow up for a gold coin.

She is also plan­ning a cake and cup­cake auc­tion in Tama­here to raise funds.

‘‘We even get to go and meet some of the kids who are in­volved in Va­ri­ety on a day at Rain­bow’s End, so it’s not just that we’re there to raise money and we never re­ally get to get in­volved,’’ she said.

‘‘We re­ally get to see the dif­fer­ence we’ve made, which is re­ally re­ward­ing.’’

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