Stevie-Lee’s crowning moment

WINNING WAYS: Miss Canterbury pageant Stevie-Lee Gregan was runner up Miss Canterbury and took out most improved, first equal in Miss Tourism and second equal in Miss Environment. PHOTO ONSCENE MEDIA
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Stevie-Lee Gregan of Rakaia took out the title for second place in Miss Canterbury at the weekend.

The 17-year-old Mount Hutt College year 13 student said she was overwhelmed with gratitude and pride.

As well as taking out the first runner-up title, she was named most improved contestant, and was first equal in tourism and placed in other categories.

‘‘If you told me three months ago I was going to get first runner up for Miss Canterbury, and most improved, I would have laughed,’’ Stevie-Lee said.

‘‘This journey has challenged me and pushed me beyond what I thought were my limits. The friendships and the memories I have made are unforgettable. The confidence I have discovered during and after is incredible,’’ she said.

Unlike many beauty pageants, Miss Canterbury was more focused on the charity work the 14 contestants undertook in the lead up to Sunday night’s crowning, and less on looks.

WINNING WAYS: Stevie-Lee Gregan was runner up Miss Canterbury and raised more than $5400 for mental health charity I am Hope and sexual violence support group Brave.

Stevie-Lee enjoyed the charity aspect. She held a variety of fundraisers, including a high tea and a showjumping event to raise money for the two charities supported by the pageant, which were mental health charity I am Hope and sexual violence support group Brave.

Miss Canterbury pageants organiser Meghan Kenney said Stevie-Lee was incredible in raising $5450.

‘‘Stevie-Lee hosted lots of events which was so impressive for someone so young,’’ Kenney said.

Prior to Sunday night’s final, contestants took part in a range of activities, including a presentation to the judges about their charity work, a promotional video on local attractions and environmental action.

‘‘I awarded her with most improved as I felt she was the contestant who grew the most throughout, the difference from the first rehearsal to the final night was monumental,’’ Kenney said.

‘‘Overall I was just so proud of her, despite being only 17, she was so committed and driven the whole time and worked hard to achieve what she did.

‘‘She gave a very strong answer as part of the top five questions and answers, despite the questions being very difficult and arguably at a level above what I would have expected from someone her age,’’ Kenney said.

Stevie-Lee said she was thankful to her supporters.

‘‘I am so grateful to my mum and dad for all their support. Mum provided unwavering support at the drop of a hat and dad slaved away to help at all my events,’’ Stevie-Lee said.

Preparing for the finals of the Miss Canterbury pageant Stevie-Lee Gregan checks her make-up. PHOTO ONSCENE MEDIA

‘‘My family, friends and sponsors helped me throughout the preparations and I am so thankful to all of them.

‘‘Miss Canterbury has brought me so much joy, and has given me so much more confidence than I could have imagined. Pageants are so much more then what most people think, and this experience has opened up so many doors for me, ’’ Stevie-Lee said.

As she prepared for the contest, Stevie-Lee had been inspired by Miss New Zealand 2023 Georgia Waddington. Alongside first equal in tourism, she was second equal in environmental action and third in social media.