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Miss World In NZ After Carrying Olympic Torch

World Beauty arrives in New Zealand after Carrying the Olympic Torch

Report by Melissa Chandler + Photographs by Vince Heperi

Just days after carrying the Olympic torch on its journey to Beijing, Miss World Zi Lin Zhang has touched down in New Zealand. The 24-year-old Chinese woman arrived in Auckland yesterday for a six-day visit, during which time she will pass on advice to newly crowned Miss World New Zealand Kahurangi Taylor. Click here for large version of this image.

Miss Zhang is traveling with Miss World chairwoman Julia Morley, and together they will meet New Zealand organisers of the competition.

“I’m so happy to be in New Zealand – this is my first time and everyone has been telling me how beautiful your country is,” Miss Zhang says.

The talented all-rounder has had a jammed-packed schedule since being crowned Miss World last December, but one of the highlights has been carrying the Olympic torch across Hainan, a tropical island off China’s southern coast.

This has been a dream of Miss Zhang’s since she was a child. However, she hadn’t expected to carry it in her role as Miss World – she thought it would be as an Olympic competitor. Up until four years ago, she was a champion hurdler, with hopes of competing at the Games.

The torch will travel through more than 100 cities and scenic spots in China, heading for the Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing on August 8 this year. Miss Zhang will also have a part to play at the ceremony.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Along with thousands of other Chinese celebrities, she entered a competition to sing at the opening – and won.

She’s also a champion for charities. In the five months since she took the crown, Miss Zhang has raised $US20 million ($NZ25 million) for people in need the world over. She hopes to hit $US30 million ($NZ38.8 million), which would be the most ever earned by a Miss World.

The Miss World competition has been running since 1951 and, since 1971, the contest has raised $US 800 million ($NZ1,036,000,000) for charities around the world, embracing the “beauty with a purpose” motto.

During her New Zealand visit, Miss Zhang will be attending many functions, including the Variety of Academy of Awards at Sky City Theatre tonight.

After her Miss World 2007 reign is over, the tall beauty wants to continue her studies – she already has a Bachelor of Arts – and has thoughts of becoming a teacher like her mother, who is a professor in Beijing.

In the meantime, her life continues to be a whirlwind of high-flying events. When Miss Zhang leaves New Zealand on Thursday, she heads for France to be a guest of honour at the Cannes Film Festival.

Melissa Chandler is a Witt journalism student.


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