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Ex-PBB housemate, Viva actress Franki Russell as Miss Universe New Zealand 2024

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Franki Russell, the actress and former housemate of the reality show “Pinoy Big Brother,” caused a stir when it was revealed on March 21 that she would be representing her homeland, New Zealand, in the Miss Universe 2024 competition in Mexico City.

On Thursday, XPEDITION, a magazine based in Dubai, made the announcement of Franki’s selection on Instagram.

Photo courtesy: Instagram/@missfranki

It can be read, “Her Story. Her Rules. #XPEDITIONWomen.”

“This is her official launch as the new Miss Universe New Zealand (@missuniverse_newzealand). After a four-year hiatus, Franki Russell will carry the torch of New Zealand to represent her culture at the 72nd Miss Universe in Mexico City.”

“Recognized as a reality star and actress in the Philippines, the half-Kiwi, half-Filipina beauty is eager to leverage her new platform to address a prevalent concern among youth in New Zealand and worldwide – Cyberbullying. With aspirations to utilize the Miss Universe New Zealand platform to engage broader audiences and raise awareness about her passionate causes.”

Photo courtesy: Instagram/@missfranki

Franki’s opportunity arose when Filipino entrepreneur Josh Yugen assumed the role of the new national director and franchise owner of Miss Universe New Zealand. New Zealand marks the latest addition to the expanding beauty portfolio of the Yugen Group, which already includes Miss Universe franchises in Pakistan, Bahrain, and Egypt. Prior to this, Franki participated in Miss Universe UAE, where she achieved a position in the top 30 in 2021, catching Josh’s attention in the process.

On her Instagram post, Franki expressed how delighted she was about this new opportunity. 

“A new chapter 🙏🏻🇳🇿🥹 Where to begin.”

“This really feels like a ten year journey in the making. I applied for Miss Universe New Zealand in 2014 – I was 19 at that time and really didn’t know who I was as a person. A lost girl just wanting to find her purpose and her place in this world. Now that I am 29, ten years older and with far more life experience, I realized that life definitely works in mysterious ways. As the saying goes: “everything happens for a reason”. and has lead me to this new role.”

Photo courtesy: Instagram/@missfranki

“I dedicate this next chapter to my late father. Every day after school he would ask me ‘What is the highlight of your day?’ This taught me from a very young age to always look for that positivity in every day, in big or small ways.”

“I know he is looking down and encouraging me every step of the way in my Miss Universe NZ journey and in the weeks and months to come as I prepare for the Miss Universe competition in Mexico.”

“Of course, I want to thank my Filipina mama and my siblings for being an amazing support system for me.”

“To Josh and the Yugen Group team, my Viva family, Primastella family, the entire Miss Universe organization, Khun Anne, Mr. Raul and Ms. O, for the trust and support and making this small town girls’ dream come true.”

“My friends, colleagues, glam team, the pageant media and everyone who are always there to support and celebrate all my little successes.”

“This is your Miss Universe New Zealand 2024, Franki xoxo,” she said. 

Photo courtesy: Instagram/@missfranki

In 2022, Franki and Filipino actor Diego Loyzaga acknowledged that they were romantically involved. Although they co-starred in the movie “Pabuya,” they refrained from openly declaring their relationship status.

*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo: Instagram (@missfranki)

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