By Hayley Gastmeier
When Lakeview School teacher Johannah Prasad walked into her classroom on Monday morning her five and six-year-old students all cheered.
That’s because their teacher won the supreme title at Miss Five Crowns New Zealand, a national beauty pageant held in Auckland over the weekend.
“My kids were so excited, they were like ‘Miss Prasad, we’re so proud of you’,” said the 23-year-old.
“It was so cute.
“They wanted to all see the photos and some of the kids had made me little cards which were laid out on my desk.”
Miss Prasad is in her second year teaching at the Masterton school, where she is famous for wearing stilettos.
She said her grandfather had “shot up” in the crowd when she was named the overall winner, and the feat was still sinking in.
“I was absolutely shocked and surprised to have won, but I am so grateful for the opportunity.”
As part of the pageant she raised over $2000 which will go towards sponsoring a child through Variety, a charity for underprivileged Kiwi kids.
Miss Prasad said the judges must have liked her answers.
“We had to say what we would do to make a change and a difference in our role.
“I talked about how important it is for people to know their worth, how important children are and how my teaching coincides nicely with what we are doing with our work with Variety,” she said.
“It’s so important to know your worth and your value.
“And when we know that and value that together we can all contribute and make a difference.”
She said the rehearsals for the pageant had been “full on” and the event itself featured celebrity performances, including one from Baxter Dance hip hop group Forever Young, who are in their 80s and are “designed to break the mold and show anyone can dance”.
“It was just an incredible night and I’m definitely grateful to be a part of this particular pageant because there is just so much meaning and purpose behind it,” Miss Prasad said.
Miss Five Crowns New Zealand was unique in that it didn’t have the strict criteria of other pageants.
“It’s not a typical beauty pageant where there are limits to size, ethnicity or anything like that.
“It’s really open for you to express your inner and outer beauty as a whole package.”
Miss Prasad said as winner of the inaugural pageant she would have “multiple international commitments”, which she hoped would not cause significant disruption to her teaching career.