Weekend Sun   

Tall, trim and transformed

Hair in curlers and wearing her casual clothes, Megan Buyn walks into Sun Media’s offices with a gentle smile, a shy persona and a small entourage.

They step into the ladies’ room for a moment, before the teen returns in a stunning bright red fitted dress, earrings like chandeliers and three-inch silver stilettos. What an entrance.

Tall, trim and transformed: Megan is every inch Tauranga’s next Miss Filipino New Zealand.

Representing Tauranga, Megan is one of six contestants in the pageant, which is part of the three-day Labour Weekend Filipino Reunion Pistang Pilipino 2015 on October 23-25.

As she poses for The Weekend Sun photographer, Megan comes alive. She’s relaxed, confident and moving to the instructions of her friend and model, who’s come along for the shoot.

Her head tilts at all the right angles, she smiles just the right amount of teeth and her posture is perfectly poised – it’s like she’s been doing this forever. Think again.

“I’ve literally been doing this for three weeks,” giggles Megan. “I’m just starting out.”

The Otumoetai College student was convinced by the organisers to enter the pageant.

The prize? Two return tickets to the Philippines, a sash, trophy, flower bouquet, $500 and the all-important crown.

“At first I thought it wasn’t my thing to do,” admits Megan. “But there’s really more gain than loss so I thought I’d give it a go.

“I get to learn how to walk in high heels,” she laughs. “I’ve never walked in high heels before. Plus it’s a good opportunity to meet lots of people.”

Dressed in full make-up, fake eyelashes and all – Megan admits she’s not a girly-girl.

“This is really the first time I’ve been this done up.” We ask what she thinks of her made-up self. “They say I’m beautiful, so I guess I do believe them,” smiles Megan. She’s beautifully modest.

But, Megan acknowledges the glammed version of herself gives her self-assurance.

“Once you get your make-up done and your hair done, and see yourself done up, it’s a big confidence boost. It’s encouraging. Before I wouldn’t have been this confident, I’ve learned a lot.”

Born in Tauranga, Megan’s visited the Philippines before and her mother is Filipino, but she can’t speak the local language. We laugh a little at the idea she’s a Miss Filipino NZ contestant, but doesn’t know how to say a sentence in Filipino. She can understand it though, and loves the culture.

“Everything is alive. It’s really energetic and the people are always very nice to you. They always greet you. It’s a really good vibe.”

Megan loves the Filipino beaches and food, but she’s also fallen in love with the Bay’s beaches. “I love it here,” says Megan.

She also likes to paint, read, and play the drums, which is her competition talent.

Pistang Pilipino 2015 is on October 23-25. For more information, visit www.pistangpilipino.nz

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