'Tomboy' in shock after win

Miss Universe New Zealand Otago 2014 winner Becky Hingston  yesterday.  Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Miss Universe New Zealand Otago 2014 winner Becky Hingston yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
A self-confessed ''tomboy'' was in shock yesterday after winning Otago's premier beauty pageant.

Becky Hingston was crowned Miss Universe New Zealand Otago 2014 at the grand final in the Otago Boys' High School auditorium on Saturday.

''I'm still overwhelmed,'' the 24-year-old zoology and marine biology student said yesterday.

''I didn't expect it in a million years. It's the first modelling I've ever done. [Regional director] Donna [Dobbinson] found me in the street and asked me to enter.

''I started out as a tomboy and have ended up as a fashion queen. I don't know what my future holds any more.''

The first runner-up was Paige Hellier (21) and second runner-up was Sheree Anderson (25).

Miss Hingston (24) also won the Miss Swimwear, Miss Congeniality and Miss Charity events.

Taylor Smith (19) won the Miss Photogenic title and Miss Hellier the Miss Evening Gown category.

All 19 contestants were winners, regional director Donna Dobbinson said yesterday.

''There's a huge amount of confidence and talent gained by the contestants. They emerge from this as amazing, strong young ladies.''

It will be the final Miss Universe contest for Mrs Dobbinson, who has run the Otago pageant since 2011.

''I'll be walking away from the Miss Universe New Zealand brand after this, to take over the national directorship of Miss Earth New Zealand,'' she said.

Last week, Miss Universe New Zealand threatened to break links with the Otago competition after a swimwear competition was held in Dunedin that executive director Nigel Godfrey said breached Miss Universe rules.

The Miss Universe New Zealand grand final will be held in Auckland on September 18.

-nigel.benson@odt.co.nz

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