21-Yr-Old Valentine Fernandes, the only contestant for ‘Miss World New Zealand 2016’ bags “Miss Exotic Beauty Award” in NZ
The bubbly 21-year-old Valentine Fernandes, Miss Taranaki 2016, was the only contestant of Indian origin from different regions of New Zealand for the Miss World New Zealand 2016. She is the only child of Natalie and Oswald Fernandes, who are from Goa and have roots in coastal Karnataka.
Valentine was one of the favourites among the 13 finalists in the Miss World New Zealand 2016 and if crowned, would have represented New Zealand to the 66th Miss World Pageant later this year. Unfortunately, this cheerful bubbly girl couldn’t make it to the crown but to her own surprise walked away with the ‘Miss Exotic Beauty award’ and netted two other awards ‘Second Runner up in ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ and Best Dance of Origin 2016’ for her Bollywood dance on the song ‘Rangeelo Maro Dholna’ at pre-judging in Auckland held in May.
In January 2016, Valentine was the winner from among 31 contestants, 9 of whom were vying the prestigious crown of Miss Taranaki, to represent Taranaki region. Though Miss Taranaki is an annual event, it is learnt that former Miss Taranaki’s have not won the title of Miss World New Zealand pageant for a number of years. Taranaki was represented last month by Valentine popularly known as ‘Val’.
It was quite a journey for this Dubai-born, Mumbai-based olive skinned beauty, with roots from Goa and Coastal Karnataka, to migrate to New Zealand at the age of 10, and sizzle in a big stage and bag 3 awards amidst tough competition. Her traditional upbringing and values imbibed in early stages of life, cultivated by her mother, helped her to make a difference in her life. Valentine, though born and brought up in Dubai, traces her roots to Goa and Karwar as her parents hail from these cities and says she still misses her trips to this coastal belt where her family and relatives live.
An alumna of Our Own English High School in Sharjah, St John Bosco School and Sacred Heart Girls’ College in New Plymouth, Val has a down to earth personality, with a compassionate heart and is in her second year pursuing Nursing at Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT).
She started her modelling career and acting course with Lois Finderup’s Turning Point Professional Modelling Agency in New Plymouth while studying nursing, and has modelled for Centre City’s Winter Fashion Show, Taranaki Fashion Art Awards and TSB Bank Awards. As the current Miss Taranaki, she is also the brand ambassador of ‘Ringcraft Moana Jewellers’ for 2016.
Apart from modelling, Val has varied interests and hobbies which include swimming, badminton, dancing, compering, music, theatre, playing the guitar, singing and actively participates in Indian and other community events. She is a regular performer and has performed at Halamoana awards, TSB Christmas at the Bowl, Multi-Ethnic and much more. Besides being good in academics, she visits the Children & Young People’s ward in the hospital bringing with her a few crowns and other toys to help put smiles on children’s faces.
Valentine has completed her speech and drama Level 8 with Distinction and plans to help young kids develop their speaking skills next term. She has developed a lot of confidence in herself and in what she does and is proud to be called a Kiwi-Indian. The future, of course, looks bright for this young lass who is bent upon using her success to do something for the betterment of the society. We hope that one more bright face from the west coast of India will surely shine.