Lorraine Downes: the incredible journey of only Miss Universe from New Zealand

21 Mar 2020 | Camilla Suarez

Lorraine Downes was 19-years-old when she made it through to the final stage of the Miss Universe 1983 competition along with Miss USA Julie Hayek, who had dominated media coverage and seemed to be the favourite for the title. She was crowned Miss Universe 1983 at the end of the event finale. She became a household name overnight and spent the next 12 months travelling the world accompanied by a chaperone, carrying out the duties of Miss Universe and meeting high profile leaders such as US President Ronald Reagan. It was a life changing experience for the young woman from Pakuranga who had arrived in St. Louis with a small suitcase and a bundle of nerves.

Recalling her journey, Lorraine mentioned that winning the crown was one of the most life-changing experience for her as it not only opened the pathway for her but many other young women in New Zealand to step into the world of pageantry. She recalls she felt honoured because she could now use her voice in many different areas and make an impact on people.



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Lorriane Downes is now a founder and director of successful modelling agency and image consultancy. She has written two books; REAL, The Truth about Fashion, Beauty and Image, co-authored with Frances Jones (1997), and Life, Loss, Love (2018). Her heartfelt book acts as a way of coping after the loss of her father and husband and of how to continue with life afterwards. In 2006 she won the second season of New Zealand’s Dancing with the Stars television series, raising almost $112,000 for the Child Cancer Foundation.

The diva who is the only delegate from New Zealand who has ever won the title of Miss Universe mentioned that the only thing that she was not comfortable during her reign was the public profile. She explains that the experiences one has are not always the one that you want to share with the public but when you’re at such position that everyone’s eyes are on you, it starts to get uncomfortable after a time.


Lorraine Downes: the incredible journey of only Miss Universe from New Zealand


The diva is now looking forward to develop ‘The Gift’ which is a concept about sharing about the people who have helped her in her life path. It’s a project that got put on hold when her husband, Marty, became ill. She mostly stayed out of the spotlight, apart from when she married All Black Murray Mexted, and later cricket great Martin Crowe.

Lorraine feels that she has been blessed with a lot of loving people who have helped her heal after her husband Martin Crowe passed away. She is a strong believer of God and believes that she is always positive about loving herself in any situation. She keeps herself busy with working with her clients consulting on personal image and wellbeing, working with MitoQ as an ambassador, working with Mercy Hospice as an ambassador, keeping fit with spin classes, yoga, walking, and dancing Argentinean tango.


Lorraine Downes Miss Universe 1983 From New Zealand


She further explained about MitoQ that offers both supplements and skincare (oral skincare included). Lastly, she mentioned that living your life authentically is the way you live with your truth. She urges everyone to have faith in high power and keep working hard for their goals and dreams.