Amber-Lee Friis suicide: Miss Universe New Zealand finalist kills self. Dead at age 23. Struggled with bullying and difficult upbringing.
Of note, Friis’d death follows the former finalist posting a photo with her sister to her Facebook page one day prior to taking her own life.
Friis had previously documented being relentlessly bullied at school before she turned her life around.
Tortured and bullied
During her school days, Ms Friis said her classmates called her ‘Chimoan’ because of her tanned skin and slanted eyes.
Ms Friis also had a difficult upbringing outside of school, saying there were some nights where there was no dinner to put on the table.
‘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.’ Friis previously told NZ’s Stuff.
At just 15-years-old she moved in with her then boyfriend and studied mechanics while working at a pizza hut.
As her weight spiraled out of control, she tipped the scales at 96kg (211 pounds) by the age of 16.
‘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.
Determined to get back on top of her weight once and for all, she joined a gym – and within six months, she slimmed down to her toned figure.
‘This journey was a once in a life time opportunity, I am forever grateful,’
She said in 2018 with her tattoos and ear stretcher she ‘never expected in a million years’ she would be in the running for a beauty pageant.
Nigel Godfrey, CEO of Miss World New Zealand, confirmed Friis’ death in a memorial Facebook post on Tuesday.
‘Tragically she passed away yesterday, the world is a lesser place without her in it,’ he wrote. ‘She was a force to be reckoned with.’
‘She was genuine, honest and she had an energy few others possess, her heart was most definitely in the right place. We liked and respected her and were very proud to call her a friend, long after the competition had finished,’ said Godfrey. ‘RIP Amber Lee you have left us far, far too soon.’
Friis of Auckland competed in the 2018 Miss Universe New Zealand competition and was one of 20 finalists. She traveled to Thailand during her attempt at the crown, according to NZ’s Stuff.
‘All these beautiful girls deserve a crown of some sort, you wouldn’t believe how many friends I have made. This journey was a once in a life time opportunity, I am forever grateful,’ Friis wrote on her Facebook page in 2018 on the eve of the pageant’s finals. ‘My memories will last forever.’