A descendant of Te Atihaunui-ā-Pāpārangi was crowned 2nd runner-up in the Miss Global City 2017 pageant held in Shanghai on the weekend.
Jessica Tyson, 24 says, there were 31 contestants who represented the larger cities in the world with a purpose to promote charities and to protect people and the earth.
This year marks the 12th year of Miss Global City and the third international beauty pageant Tyson has competed in. In 2008 she won Miss World Supermodel pageant that was held in Australia and last year she won 2nd place in the Miss World New Zealand pageant, enabling her to represent the country in Tokyo at the Miss International pageant.
Tyson says she loves being able to embrace her Māori culture in front of thousands of people on an international stage and despite her fair skin on the outside, she knows who she is and where she comes from on the inside. She says it shows you don’t have to look a certain way to be Māori.
“I was so happy to share to the audience on the final night that I can speak te reo Māori and everyone was really impressed. I love sharing that I am Māori to people at pageants because I am so fair-skinned, people don’t expect it and get really surprised. It shows that you don’t have to look a certain way to be Māori."
The pageant was held over nine days and the contestants participated in many activities during that time, which included charity events, sailing, cultural spot visits and her most favourite of them all Disneyland.
She says she was lucky to have been selected from the National Director of Miss World New Zealand to attend this pageant, however at this point in time she wants to focus on her career by continuing her te reo Māori journey and she plans to compete again internationally.
“I definitely want to compete internationally again because the experiences I have at these competitions have been some of the best I’ve every had.”
She advises ladies who want to follow suit to not limit your goals, but to look beyond what's ahead of you.
“Make goals to succeed on an international level in whatever you are passionate about. New Zealand is my favourite country in the world, of course, but travelling to compete in pageants and seeing other amazing parts of the world is indescribable. I want others to see the world and feel like they are really living life to their full potential.”