The 23-year-old Amber-Lee Friis tragically died earlier this week of suicide. She was the 2018 New Zealand Miss Universe finalist.
The Miss World New Zealand confirmed her death with the following Facebook post:
“Amber absolutely turned her contestant journey around, after an early ‘wobble’ she ended up as one of the most positive and supportive contestants we had in the 7 years we held the MU licence.
“She overcame so much to join us in the first place and she won our admiration and respect from the get-go. She was a beautiful, exciting and unique person with an extraordinary energy for life.
“Amber remained a positive and supportive friend to us once the competition was over and in the next couple of years, we were very proud to call her a friend. The world has lost a young woman who had so much to offer and that is an awful and absolute tragedy.
“Rest in Peace Amber, but you’ve gone too soon and we will all miss you.”
Tributes have poured in for the Auckland beauty queen.
‘Genuine and honest’
CEO of Miss World New Zealand, Nigel Godfrey, expressed his sadness at Friis’ passing in the New Zealand Herald.
“We liked and respected her and were very proud to call her a friend, long after the competition had finished. Amber Lee turned her life, and indeed her experience with us around, and into an incredibly positive force for good,” Mr Godfrey said.
“She was feisty, definitely took no prisoners, but she was a beautiful soul and you 100% knew what you were getting. She was genuine, honest and she had an energy few others possess, her heart was most definitely in the right place.”
Friis had previously spoken of the hardships she faced during her upbringing, telling Stuff New Zealand, “I remember sitting in my room one night and thinking how hard life could be. At a young age you feel the world is weighing on your shoulders.
“I had a negative outlook on everything. I pictured myself as being an angry, fat, old lady but then I thought: This is not what I want to be like,” she said.