Miss New Zealand Georgia Waddington on why beauty pageants still have a place in 2023

Making friends, gaining confidence, and doing good for the community - just some of the reasons why Miss New Zealand Georgia Waddington believes beauty pageants still have a place in 2023. 

Having been crowned Miss New Zealand earlier this year, the 22-year-old secured a spot at the prestigious Miss International, a major global pageant held annually in Tokyo, Japan.  

It was there that Waddington was crowned Miss Photogenic, an honour she was awarded for her "endearing" photos, she told AM on Monday morning.  

The Christchurch local had never competed in pageants before Miss New Zealand, which she entered after being tagged in a social media call-out for contestants.   

She admitted to AM that in school, she was always the student "who never put her hand up" in class - but her foray into pageantry has helped her gain confidence and break out of her comfort zone.

"It's been a journey of self-development," she said. "I've gained so much confidence: it really pushes you out of your comfort zone."

She added that pageantry can also be a great way to get involved in supporting local causes and initiatives, with 80 percent of the final vote for Miss New Zealand being based on the contestant's charity work. Waddington herself serves as an ambassador for both I Am Hope and Brave NZ, championing their respective services for mental health and combatting sexual harm.  

When asked if pageants still have a place in 2023, Waddington urged anyone considering making the leap to do so. 

"Anyone should join... you learn so much about yourself, you gain confidence, make friends - it's an amazing experience." 

Watch the video above.