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Indian among Miss Universe finalists

A young Indian student of University of Otago is among the 20 finalists at the forthcoming Miss Universe New Zealand competition, stating that the pageant is keen to restore its former glory.

The finals of the contest will be held on Saturday, October 5 at Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland.

Tickets can be purchased online www.ticketek.co.nz

Henali Patel (20), a Law and Psychology student, said that Miss Universe does not charge entrants ‘hundreds of dollars,’ and that the swimsuit section (which was an embarrassment for many) has been removed and the pageant now appeals to wider communities.

Indian roots

She said that as a person born and raised in Auckland, she classifies herself as a ‘Kiwi with strong links to her Indian background.’

“I speak fluent Gujarati and a bit of Hindi and I used to perform dances in Bharata Natyam style at many Indian events held at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre in Auckland. As a participant in the Miss Universe New Zealand competition, I am keen that the media should promote the contest and inform the public how it has evolved to be a better event,” she said.

Charity work

Henali said that her goal is to make a difference in the lives of people and offer help and assistance to the needy.

“I am a firm believer in diversity and equal rights, whether it is across cultures or sexuality. By getting this far in the competition, I would like to encourage many other girls of different ethnicities to enter this competition. Opinions of many beauty competition judges have changed and they now also see the world as becoming a more ethnically diverse place,” she said.

She said that in terms of the rules of the Miss Universe New Zealand Contest, she is involved in a charity project.

She works for ‘Variety,’ to raise funds for disadvantaged children in the country.

She said donations can be made on the pageant website

https://missuniverse.everydayhero.com/nz/henali

Donations can also be made through texting Henali 5484. Texts cost 99 cents.

Her target is $2000 but the contestant raising maximum donations to her chosen charity will be crowned, ‘Miss Entrepreneur.’

“Everyone should have an opportunity to succeed in life. Money, disability and health should not be a barrier,” Henali said.

Photo : Henali Patel

Picture by Vanessa Wood/Suede Studios

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