Amber-Lee Friis is dead. The former Miss Universe New Zealand finalist died at the age of 23 after taking her own life, The Daily Mail reported earlier today. New Zealand police stated they had attended a sudden death call on Monday. Since then, a coroner has taken over the case.
The official Miss World New Zealand Facebook page confirmed that she passed away on Monday.
"All of us at Miss World NZ are dreadfully sad on hearing this."
Nigel Godfrey, the CEO of Miss World New Zealand, described Friis as being "genuine" and added that "her heart was most definitely in the right place."
The Talent Tree modeling agency represented her. Agency owner Tracey-Maree Houia commented that she was "devastated" by their client's passing and that she would be "sorely missed."
Friis' final Facebook update was made just one day before her untimely passing. She updated her profile picture on May 17 with a selfie of her and her sister standing outside together.
Amber-Lee Friis Had A Difficult Childhood As The Victim Of Relentless Bullyinghttps://www.facebook.com/photo.php
According to The Daily Mail, the Auckland, New Zealand, native had to overcome being bullied as a child. She was often called a "Chimoan" by her classmates because of her slanted eyes and tanned skin.
Outside of the classroom, she said that she and her family did not always have food on the dinner table every night.
"I remember sitting in my room one night and thinking how hard life could be."She recalled feeling like "the world" was "weighing" on her at a young age.
She endeavored to conquer her struggles by working a job at Pizza Hut and studying mechanics.
Aside from external challenges, the Miss Universe finalist was also unhappy with her weight.
She once told reporters that she had a very "negative outlook" and hated the way she saw herself in the mirror.
"I pictured myself as being an angry, fat, old lady but then I thought: This is not what I want to be like."She ended up joining a gym to get her weight under control. She changed her fitness regimen and eventually achieved her toned figure.
Despite her weight loss, she admitted that she "never expected in a million years" to be competing in a beauty pageant.
Her reasoning seemed to be somewhat attributed to her alternative look. Friis was not shy about displaying her tattoos and ear stretcher.
In 2018, she became a Miss Universe New Zealand finalist at only 21 years old and even got to travel to Thailand as part of the competition.
There Has Been An Outpouring Love For Amber-Lee Friis From Her Friends & Supporters On Social Mediahttps://www.facebook.com/photo.php
Many of Friis' friends and supporters took to her Facebook page to express their condolences. Tributes accumulated from people who had known the 23-year-old since she was young to those who had met and worked with her during her Miss Universe competition period and beyond.
"Rest in peace you Beautiful girl, I cherish every moment I spent with you till we see each other again," wrote one person.
"Rest In Peace beautiful Amber you will always be in our hearts....," said another Facebook user.
"Great to of [sic] meet and worked with you Amber.. Fly high beautiful," added a third.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.