By ROBYN BRISTOW
It has been a journey from gumboots to stilettos for Leithfield’s Lauren Watkins.
Lauren has just been crowned a Miss Five Crowns New Zealand regional winner slipping out of the calf shed and on to the catwalk and beyond.
Lauren, a 19-year-old student studying animal care through the Otago Polytechnic by correspondence while working on a dairy farm rearing calves, entered the beauty performance platform called Miss Five Crowns New Zealand earlier in the year.
“I have a site on Star Now, a job search site for modelling, and I saw it there,” says Lauren.
The platform is designed and created to empower young women so they feel accepted, increasing their self-esteem and raising their confidence.
“It is all about raising confidence and personal growth,” says Lauren.
She competed over a four month period, flying to Auckland many times for rehearsals.
The final night was held in Auckland on November 5 where five winners were chosen.
“I was lucky enough to be one.
“I now represent my hometown and the South Island as the regional winner for 2016,” she says.
Lauren was just one of two South Islanders in the competition and faces a year of travel to Auckland and hopefully overseas following the four month selection process she took part in.
The finale included a dance routine as an opening number,modelling a New Zealand designer’s clothing on the catwalk and public speaking.
Lauren’s purpose in entering the competition was to help her community and raise money for charities within New Zealand.
“During my Miss Five Crowns New Zealand journey I supported “Variety” The Children’s Charity.
“Our group raised over $6000 in four months and I now sponsor a child through Variety’s Kiwi Kids programme,” says Lauren.
This year she will be helping local schools, families or any businesses that have connections with local charities and is now looking for sponsors to help her on her journey which includes many trips to Auckland throughout the year.
“My journey is very involved. It will take a lot of commitment and I will be travelling to and from Auckland most months.”
She is committed to treating any sponsorship with the “utmost respect and loyalty”.
“I have never done anything like this before.