The Sideshow

New Zealand’s ‘Miss Universe’ winner may lose title over lack of citizenship

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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New Zealand's Miss Universe winner Avianca Bohm (Facebook)

The winner of 2012's New Zealand's "Miss Universe" contest may have her title stripped just days after earning the right to represent her adopted country in the international beauty pageant.

The New Zealand Herald reports that 22-year-old Avianca Bohn is not actually a citizen of the country. In fact, Bohn was born in South Africa and immigrated to New Zealand when she was 16.

Bohn is lobbying for her citizenship to be fast-tracked, allowing her to still compete in the competition this December.

In a somewhat ironic twist, Donald Trump, who has generated headlines and criticism by repeatedly questioning the citizenship of President Barack Obama, hosts the Miss Universe pageant.

"Everyone's got contacts, and it's one of the first things that we're going to do and sort out," she told the paper. "It's just the paperwork. I mean New Zealand is such a multicultural country. It's not an issue to me at all, I'm not even worried about that."

Pageant director Val Lott doesn't blame Bohn, saying her paperwork accurately described her citizenship. Instead, she blames the judges for even allowing Bohn to compete.

"It's not embarrassing for the competition. It's embarrassing for the [chief] judge, who should have taken on board what I said to him," Lott said. "It says that in their entry form. [Ms Bohm] and I both had a clear understanding that she couldn't win.

Lott says she allowed Bohn to enter the competition as a "confidence booster," even as she reportedly made it clear Bohn would not be allowed to win. Still, Lott says she has contacted Miss Universe organizers to see if Bohn can still represent New Zealand at the competition.

"I'm so, so, so excited to meet Donald Trump, and to meet all the other girls from all the other countries," Bohn said.

And it turns out that Bohn might not have been alone in her infraction. The Herald also reports that some of the other contestants weren't New Zealand citizens either.

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