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Papauta Elive, left, and Angelina pose by Paeroa’s L&P bottle.

Differences celebrated in beauty pageant

A Paeroa woman is stepping outside her comfort zone and entering a pageant that promotes diversity, self-worth, and empowerment, hoping to inspire her two young daughters along the way.
Angelina Loveridge, 33, is a contestant in the Mrs Waikato New Zealand beauty pageant, which encourages women to be confident.
It will be the first time the Hauraki mum-of-two has stepped onto the pageant scene, but she hopes playing a small part will leave a positive impact.

“When I was younger, my cousins said I could do modelling but I had no confidence at all. I’m half-Indian, and I got teased at school about it,” she said. “Nowadays, it’s different, and we have so many different cultures, but back then, I struggled with the way I looked.”
Angelina said she didn’t start regaining her confidence and self-worth until she was 18-years-old, but then she faced another challenge.
She was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma in her right hand. It is a rare cancer that can come from different types of soft tissue, such as muscle or ligaments.
“By the time they diagnosed it properly, they said they’d have to take [my hand] off. I was told at 18 that I could die, but thankfully, [the cancer] hadn’t gone anywhere else.”

Angelina – who had to learn how to write with her left hand – said the biggest hurdle had been raising her two daughters, Faith and Shemaiah, lacking the lower part of her limb.
But with Mrs Waikato focused on raising awareness and advocating for sexual abuse and domestic violence victims, Angelina said she felt compelled to get involved.
The pageant aims to raise funds for Te Whakaruruhau Waikato Women’s Refuge and Brave, a charity offering education and support to victims of sexual violence, founded in 2018.
“I’ve got two daughters who I worry about so much,” Angelina said. “I just want them to know their worth.”
Angelina has enlisted the help of Waihī musician Sarah Spicer to run her first fundraising event later this month.
Sarah has had her own history with Waikato Women’s Refuge and said the cause was close to her heart.
“I’ve written a lot of songs around the subjects of strength and women’s empowerment, and it’s all self-reflection,” she told The Profile. “That’s the way I’ve helped myself keep busy – to write positive music and share that with other people.”
The event will take place on June 24 at the Paeroa Café from 6pm, and there is a “tiaras, masquerade, and fancy dress” theme.
Preliminary judging for the Mrs Waikato pageant will be held on September 23, with the finale and crowning on October 14. Hauraki local Papauta Elive is also participating in the pageant this year.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen in life, the last few years have shown that, and we need to make the most of what we have now,” Angelina said.
“If I can help one person have hope, then I’m happy.”
DETAILS: For information on the event, or to get in touch with Angelina, find ‘Angelina Loveridge – Ms Waikato 2023 Candidate’ on Facebook.