Home » Uncategorized » First runner-up Koini Vakaloloma will represent Fiji in Miss World 2012

First runner-up Koini Vakaloloma will represent Fiji in Miss World 2012

Disputed Fiji beauty queen given delayed shot at world crown

<!—->Miss World Fiji 2012

From the front page of the latest edition of Wansolwara, the student journalists newspaper at the University of the South Pacific. Image: PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Edward Tavanavanua and Parijata Gurdayal in Suva

The Miss World Fiji 2012 Pageant is under scrutiny following a plethora of allegations – including over the winner’s young age and that her victory was “pre-determined”. The queen has now had her entry to the world stage put off until next year.

Although the pageant concluded late last month, the Miss World Organisation had yet to add Torika Watters, the schoolgirl winner of the Fiji franchise, to the list of winners on its official website when Wansolwara went to press.

The organisation did not respond to queries emailed to it by Wansolwara – but Fiji franchise director Andhy Blake has since confirmed changes. First runner-up Koini Vakaloloma will represent Fiji in Miss World 2012 in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, on August 18 and Watters will represent Fiji in Miss World 2013 in Bali, Indonesia.

Wansolwara logoEarlier, Blake had refused requests for an in-person interview with Wansolwara. When asked over the phone whether Watters had been accepted into the international competition, he said “it’s a surprise”.

He also declined to comment on whether the funds raised from a charity ball, which was held to create awareness on mental health, had been given to St Giles Hospital.

The Miss World pageant is reputed for its charity work. Each country chapter is required to raise money for charity.

Blake said the press statement he issued earlier was sufficient and that he would no longer give any other telephone interviews.

Designer breaks silence
Meanwhile, in an earlier interview, Pacific fashion designer Hupfeld Hoerder broke his silence to confirm that the six-member judging panel, on which former New Zealand supermodel Rachel Hunter was chief judge, had no input in selecting Miss World Fiji.

The panel was required to select the best three from the 13 contestants before Miss World Fiji is selected. Hoerder said 16-year-old Watters was not among the panel’s final three. He also pointed out that Watters will not turn 17 until next year.

The international contest stipulates 17 years as the minimum age for entry.

Hoerder said the Fiji contest was decided from the start.

He said weeks before the crowning, Blake repeatedly declared his preference for Watters to win the pageant.

Hoerder also listed several other irregularities, like the absence of a judging criteria and the lack of showings scheduled for the panel to view and assess the
contestants.

Hoerder, who has experience as a Miss Hibiscus judge, said the fact that they only had one meeting with the contestants was extremely irregular.

The assessment also was confined to their life story or experiences.

No judging criteria
Blake later confirmed in a press statement that no judging criteria or points system was used to judge the contestants.

“If you are asked to be a judge for Miss World, then you should come with the mindset of hearing genuine stories and not with the expectations of age, points tabulation,” he said.

He added that based on this fact that no judging or points system was employed, any allegations of judging being rigged are false.

“I gave my own personal opinions on whoever I saw fitting for the title without influencing the judges as to who should be the rightful winner,” Blake said.

Watters declined to talk to Wansolwara without Blake’s approval.

However, she was interviewed by Television New Zealand’s Mark Sainsbury. She told TVNZ that she had chosen to ignore the negative criticism and to focus on the Miss World contest in Mongolia.

She was referring to criticism that she was unsuitable because she did not look “native” enough.

Watters said she took the criticisms as a challenge to showcase what she was capable of.

Edward Tavanavanua and Parijata Gurdayal are student journalists at the University of the South Pacific reporting for Wansolwara.

The latest edition of Wansolwara

…………………………………………………

STATEMENT 12th May 2012, 2pm

Re: Miss World Fiji 2012 Pageant

I would like to state that I have had no involvement in any of this underhand process and that I have been blind to this entire drama going on behind the scenes. I had no knowledge of any pre-selection or pre-judging. I had no intentions of doing anything sneaky or wrong and like the other contestants entered the competition for what I believed to be the right reasons – to be an Ambassador for Fiji and raise money for charitable causes.

Andhy Blake first contacted me on FB on the 7th of March to invite me to be a part of the Miss World Fiji Pageant. He said he would reserve a place for me among the semi finalists because I was in Sydney at the time. I told him that I would not be turning 17 until next year 2013, and asked if that mattered he said it was fine as he had sought prior approval from the CEO of Miss World Julia Morley. I arrived into Fiji on the 8th of April and came to Suva to join the other contestants on the 11th of April.

On the night of the finals, I was delighted and surprised to be chosen as Miss World Fiji and was proud to be given the opportunity to represent my Fijian heritage on the World stage. I am proud of my identity as a Fijian and have never considered my people as racists. The TNVZ interview was something as I was coached to do by the pageant director Andhy Blake and I have at all times up till now been given the words to say in public as part of my training. This is why I have come out today with my own statement.

Last week Friday 4th May, Andhy Blake told me ” Sorry, you cannot go to Mongolia. I thought that 16 year olds could enter Miss World but I was wrong they have to be closer to 17, Julia Morley has advised me to send the first runner up this year and says you can go to Bali next year”. He opened his laptop and paraphrased an email from the Miss World HQ in which they had stated I was ineligible to compete on the grounds of my age. We then held a meeting in Bau apartments the next day at which he TOLD me to officially inform the other girls that I would not be going.

I am now back in Nadi with my mum and just want to get on with my life. I left Suva and the entire pageant fiasco on Monday 7th May because I was becoming very uncomfortable with the situation. I was worried about the lies, the deception, the lack of transparency and the lack of professionalism. I knew there were issues with money, some of the girls had not received the promised prize money and were unhappy. I am sad it has come to this and wanted the public to hear directly from me without any outside interference.

Vinaka

Torika Watters, Miss World Fiji 2012

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10 thoughts on “First runner-up Koini Vakaloloma will represent Fiji in Miss World 2012

  1. Typical fijian racism to allow a loser to take part in the competition

  2. LOCAL JUDGE SLAM Miss WORLD FIJI PAGEANT SHOW.

    By Matilda Simmons.

    In what is another twist of events surrounding the Miss World Fiji Pageant show, a judge who took part in the selection process of the contestants have slammed the competition as a “farce” and that Andhy Blake influenced the judge’s decision while determining the winner of the Miss World Fiji candidate.
    In an interview with Mai Life Magazine, Hupfeld Hoerder, fashion designer and one of the three local judges who took part at the Miss World Fiji declared that the fashion show may have been pre determined from the start.
    “As judges we have a responsibility to the people of Fiji, to the parents who put so much of their time and effort supporting these girls because they could be our sisters and daughters. We want the people of Fiji to know what really happened.”
    Hupfeld who was one of two local judges that did not make an appearance on the crowning night at the Suva Civic Centre on April 21 said that he couldn’t make himself attend the event because of the “unethical process” that was undertaken by Andhy, the MW Fiji Pageant Director.
    “Personally Torika is the innocent one here. Through all this shes been victimised. What we want to state however is the unethical procedure which was carried out here during the judging,” Hupfeld told Mai Life.
    “We didn’t have anything to judge the girls on, there was no criteria. He said everything was about a story. Torika was not even in our top 3 choice during the judging. But he (Andhy) wouldn’t have it. He was like Torika was the one; she has the whole package and the universal face and that since he was the one who spent alot of time with the girls, he knew who should be the one.”
    “We stayed up till 2am in the morning trying to change Andhy’s mind but he wouldn’t have it. He was adamant that Torika was the one. It was very unprofessional of him and even as the Pageant Director; he shouldn’t have had an influence on the judge’s decision. I thought with my years of teaching I could read people’s character. He had us completely fooled,” adds the University of the South Pacific Itinerary lecturer and former judge of the Hibiscus Pageant.
    In taking action, Hupfeld says he and the girls that took part at the Miss World Fiji contest have signed a petition showing their disappointment in the organisation of the pageant. According to Hupfeld, the girls felt deceived by the whole event. “It’s about transparency and accountability. The girls just felt bad because they had advocated about mental health, and raised funds about it.”

    However Mai Life was not able to substantiate whether the money has been given to the primary source St Giles Hospital which provides medical and rehabilitation services for patients suffering from mental illness. According to a radio talk backshow which Andhy took part in a few days ago the money will be used to benefit mental health in Fiji and that he will discuss it with Health Minister Neil Sharma.
    However speaking to Mai Life one of the contestants who wished not be named confirmed that she and the rest of the girls have signed the petition voicing their concerns about Andhy Blake’s handling of the judging category and not clearly explaining the judging criteria to them.
    “The rest of the girls have signed the petition, and we fully support what Hupfeld Hoerder has said. He’s got nothing to lose and the girls support it one hundred percent,” the contestant told Mai Life.
    According to the contestant, the girls feared the backlash from Andhy as he threatened that they could face legal action if they spoke out to the media.
    The petition which had the girl’s signatures except for three girls including Miss World Fiji winner Torika Watters because she was out of Suva at the time, stated that they were informed by Andhy they were being judged on the final night on the stage but found out later that they were not judged at all.
    There was no proper schedule of events during the pageant week and the girls learnt of certain events just minutes before it began. It adds that there was no disclosure of the top five finalists for the crowning night despite his assurance that the top five would be chosen from the private judging held on April 19th at the Cosmo Lounge in Suva. And the fact that there was no public judging where the contestants were able to engage with the public.
    The petition adds that Andhy Blake had failed to make cash prizes for the other awards like “MissWorld Fiji Photogenic”, “Miss World Fiji Beauty with a Purpose” and “Miss World Fiji Tavarua Beach Beauty” to the respective winners. As well as his failure to “properly account for the funds raised for Charity from the Fire and Ice Cocktail and the pledges from Sponsors.

    Phone calls made to the Pageant Director Andhy Blake for his comments proved futile. However he earlier told Mai Life he had no comments to give when asked whether Torika Watters will be representing Fiji to the Miss World Pageant in Mongolia later this year.
    Hupfeld further told Mai Life that he and the local judges have written a formal letter to the President of the Miss World Beauty Pageant, Julia Morley about their concerns. But they have yet to receive a response from her.

  3. Again this just feeds the notion that is very prevalent that Kailomas just make up rules to suit themselves, to collude to exclude others and get preferential treatment. Why not then have it like footbal where they just import people for the pupose, we can get the most attrarctive danish girl to represnt fiji??

  4. so there is another dodgy and stinky deal done to secure her a place representing fiji in 2013? So locals needn’t bother to apply then as it is all decided!! perhaps they have someone in mind for 2014 too? Even whiter perhaps.

  5. so now the title has now been unilaterally awarded to the ‘whiter kind of fijian’, watters for 2013, there need not be any competition at all for next year? So no sponsorship for 2013, no awards, no nothing. good. It looks like it’s on its way out. What a shambles.

  6. where is the wealth of experience this Blake person has to run anything?? do they just give this pageant away to whoever pays for it?? what part of ‘The international contest stipulates 17 years as the minimum age ‘for entry’ dwas too hard for him to understand. Does this mean he has a 14 year old in mind to be awarded the crown in a couple of years time?? Apart from the obvious farce this is, is the incentive to nominate at all?

  7. Koini Vakaloloma is wasting her time putting any efforts in competing to become Miss World 2012. There will be no victory for Fiji in the Miss World competition. This ugly incident has pretty much sealed that fate.

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