The hope of bringing light to important issues is the drive behind one Miss Universe finalist.
Former Botany Downs Secondary College student Chloe Manga, 23, has been selected as part of the top 20 contestants who will vie to be crowned Miss Universe New Zealand.
Miss Manga studied a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Media, Film and Television and Maori Studies alongside a Bachelor of Laws now works as a solicitor for an Auckland law firm while she also studies part time towards a Masters of Laws.
She hopes to use her raised profile from competing in the competition to increase awareness about important issues in New Zealand, especially those affecting young Maori people.
It was after some encouragement from her best friend that she decided to enter Miss Universe and she aims to use her platform for good.
“One of the main reasons I entered this competition was to encourage women to embrace their full potential and be confident within their own skin.
“As a young Maori lawyer, I also want to be a positive role model for women and to speak about important issues in our society.”
Miss Manga said after researching the competition, she was convinced it would be a valuable experience.
“It’s not just [about] stereotypical beauty, it’s much more than that. We work closely with Variety to raise funds through a number of different initiatives [and] also learn business skills and public speaking skills.”
As a lawyer, Miss Manga has had the opportunity to work on matters for her iwi, Ngati Kahu, and hopes to continue in that area should she win the crown.
“It’s an opportunity to provide an important platform for important issues [such as] humanitarian issues, social cultural issues, indigenous peoples rights and treaty and crown obligations here in New Zealand.
“People’s rights are a big part for me, access to health care, access to justice and a range of different issues.”
Miss Manga praised the ‘give it a go’ attitude of the competition.
“It’s about getting out there and doing it, not worrying about ‘I don’t know if I’ll be good enough,” she said.
“[With] a lot of it we’re constrained by our own insecurities but with this competition we’re required to get out there and come up with ideas and raise funds.
“That expectation really does build that confidence of what you’re capable of.”