Miss Universe finalist, 23, dies suddenly after tragic final Facebook post

A FORMER Miss Universe finalist has died suddenly after posting a heartbreaking last Facebook message.

Tributes have poured in for "feisty" Amber-Lee Friis, 23, who was raised in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Miss World New Zealand Facebook page wrote: "All of us at Miss World NZ are dreadfully sad on hearing this.

"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.

"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. The world has lost a young woman who had so much to offer.

"Rest in Peace Amber, but you've gone too soon and we will all miss you."

New Zealand Police confirmed they attended a sudden death on Monday and the case has been referred to the Coroner.

Amber-Lee was a Miss Universe NZ finalist in 2018 and jetted to Thailand as part of the legendary pageant.

Miss World New Zealand CEO Nigel Godfrey described her as "feisty" and "genuine."

"We liked and respected her and were very proud to call her a friend, long after the competition had finished," he wrote.

"Amber-Lee turned her life, and indeed her experience with us around, and into an incredibly positive force for good."

The day before she died she posted a photo with her sister on Facebook.

"Rest In Peace Amber-Lee, you are so loved by so many people," one person wrote on her page.

"Rest in peace you Beautiful girl, I cherish every moment I spent with you till we see each other again," another added.

Amber-Lee previously told how she had been bullied at school because of her tanned skin and "slanted eyes".

Aged just 15 she moved in with her then boyfriend and studied mechanics while working in a pizza restaurant.

However she started piling on then pounds and weighed 15 stone at 16 before joining a gym and getting back in shape.

She was represented by The Talent Tree model agency who said "We've lost a beautiful young lady who is going to be sorely missed."


EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
  • Movember, www.uk.movember.com

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Miss England winner prepares to resume job as NHS junior doctor

Miss England winner says she wants to help ‘in a time of need’ as she prepares to resume job as NHS junior doctor on coronavirus frontline after returning from charity work in India

  • Dr Bhasha Mukherjee, from Derby, had been carrying out overseas charity work
  • She was left stuck in India after the country imposed a nation-wide lockdown
  • Following an appeal to the Foreign Office, the doctor will now resume her post

Miss England winner and junior doctor Dr Bhasha Mukherjee has returned to the UK to assist the nation’s healthcare workers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The pageant queen, from Derby, who had taken a break from the medical field to pursue overseas charity work after winning Miss England in 2019, was left stuck in India when the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a nation-wide lockdown.

However following an appeal to the Foreign Office, the 24-year-old doctor will be taking to the frontline to help her NHS colleagues in controlling the spread of the virus which has now claimed the lives of 5373 people in the UK.

Dr Mukherjee, who was born in Kolkata, India, before moving to Derby at the age of nine, said after learning about the pandemic she wanted to ‘go straight to work’.

Dr Bhasha Mukherjee, from Derby, has returned to the UK to assist the NHS  amid the coronavirus outbreak

The Miss England 2019 winner had taken a break from the medical field to pursue humanitarian work in India earlier this year

The pageant queen was left stuck in India when the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a nation-wide lockdown

She told CNN: ‘I wanted to come back home. I wanted to come and go straight to work.’

The junior doctor, who worked at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire, returned to England on Wednesday after the British High Commission in Kolkata were able to find a flight back home for her. 

After seeing her appeal on the MailOnline British Deputy High Commissioner Nick Low secured the doctor a flight back to the UK via Frankfurt.

He later took to Twitter to write: ‘Bhasha, the Almighty sprinkled stardust on you the day you were born. Can’t wait to see your vlog-there’s a career on screen waiting for you.

‘But Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, needs you and I know that’s where to want to be. Glad to have helped you on your way!’ 

Now back on home turf, the doctor is ready to help her fellow colleagues in their fight against the pandemic. 

The doctor continued: ‘It was incredible the way the whole world was celebrating all key workers, and I wanted to be one of those, and I knew I could help.’

She added: ‘There’s no better time for me to be Miss England and helping England at a time of need.’

The junior doctor, who worked at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire, returned to England on Wednesday 

The doctor (pictured left and right after returning home), who was trapped in India following a country-wide lockdown, returned to the UK last week 

British Deputy High Commissioner Nick Low (left) with Dr Bhasha Mukherjee (right) prior to her flight back to the UK

Dr Mukherjee began her first shift as a junior doctor in August 2019, just hours after being crowned Miss England.

Last month she flew to India alongside her mother Mita to carry out a four-week humanitarian tour of India on behalf of Coventry Mercia Lions Club.

However as the coronavirus pandemic worsened in early March, the Indian government imposed a country-wide lockdown and cancelled all flights, leaving Dr Mukherjee unable to board her flight booked for March 21.

The doctor was separated from her mother when the pair were unable to board the same flight back to Kolkata. 

Dr Mukherjee said she had been feeling ‘guilty’ hearing about NHS staff working 13-hour shifts, but was unable to get home to the UK until Nick Low stepped in to secure her a flight

The beauty queen was able to arrive back to the UK after seeking the help of the British government

The pair were also due to fly to Pakistan the following week for their next trip. 

Despite telling passengers the delay was due to a technical fault, airline staff eventually said the plane had been grounded indefinitely.

The doctor previously said: ‘It was such an anxiety provoking situation. I thought how am I going to get home and back to work.

‘There were hundreds of people just standing there in the airport with their bags desperately trying to get on a flight and leave. I was just sat on the floor crying.

‘Everyone was crying, desperately trying to get home. I felt like a refugee.’      

Dr Mukherjee then travelled to her aunt’s house in Kolkata, West Bengal, to self-isolate and set about contacting Pilgrim Hospital to ask if she could resume her post while also seeking the help of the UK government to enable her to fly home to Britain. 


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The 25 reasons NOT to miss the hairdresser

Gown panic, scalded scalps and the anxiety of tipping, CLAUDIA CONELL reveals: The 25 reasons NOT to miss the hairdresser

  • Claudia Connell listed the reasons she’s not missing her hairdresser in lockdown
  • British writer dislikes being quizzed on the products that she uses at home
  • She argues it’s nice to have a break from having your scalp scalded or iced

By now you’ve probably seen the joke that’s doing the rounds on social media. ‘We’re just three weeks away from knowing everybody’s real hair colour and texture,’ it states.

It’s a reference to the fact that none of us can get to our hairdressers to have our grey roots touched up, our split ends chopped off and our frizzy mops smoothed and blow-dried, and it’s induced a fair amount of panic.

But, as much as we love our hairdressers and will be flocking to them as soon as it’s safe to do so, isn’t it time for a little reminder that a visit to the salon isn’t always the most relaxing experience?

Here, to make you feel better about the hair horrors that lie ahead, CLAUDIA CONNELL suggests 25 reasons she won’t miss her visit to the hairdressers . . .

Claudia Connell (pictured) listed 25 reasons why she won’t be missing her regular trips to the hairdresser during lockdown

1 Who hasn’t played the coffee sip co-ordination game? Your coffee is in front of you (maybe with one of those nice Italian biscuits if it’s a really upmarket place) but it’s going cold and you’re desperately trying to find the right moment to take a gulp without injuring yourself or annoying the hairdresser.

2 Being quizzed on the products you use at home. Is it a trap? You always end up desperately casting around for whatever they have in the salon to claim that’s what you use, to avoid being castigated for the supermarket cheapies you rely on.

Who wants to be told ‘these are the products we used on you today’ and then be presented with a line-up of bottles at the till?

3 Hairdressers who are too heavy-handed with the products. Half a can of mousse, half a bottle of serum and a gallon of setting spray.

The whole routine means your hair is stickier than a cloud of candyfloss, and if anyone strikes a match nearby you’ll light up like a firework.

4 That moment when you stand up to remove the gown . . . and all the hair clippings fall into your open handbag on the floor. You’ll still be picking them out when it’s time for your next visit.

5 The anxiety of tipping. How much should you add? Ten per cent on top of a £150 cut and colour is a lot of money. And do you give the tip directly to the stylist, when she’s already with another client, or leave it at the desk? Do you tip the washer as well? How much? Do they keep a note of non-tippers and give them bad haircuts the next time?

Claudia said not being able to visit the hairdresser, will give your scalp a break from being either scalded or iced. Pictured: Claudia having her her straightened 

6 Gown panic. The hairdresser holds it up for you and suddenly you are a toddler again. How does it go on? Does it do up at the front like a jacket or at the back like a hospital gown? Whichever option you choose will be wrong. Why does this confusion send you, a grown and capable woman, into such a flap?

7 I know, gowns are important to protect clothing — but do they have to be made of 100 per cent crackling nylon, which turns you into a one-woman static factory and makes you sweat like a demon when you’re being blow-dried? They are no friend of the menopausal lady.

8 Some salons opt for giant nylon bibs instead of sleeved gowns. Relief? No! This just means your hands are trapped and you have to endure hours in the chair without being able to read a magazine or check your phone.

9 Those wretched wash basins. Placing your neck into the scooped-out groove, then leaning back at an uncomfortable angle to have your hair washed backwards; I’ve seen medieval torture instruments that look kinder.

10 Your precious scalp will have a break from being either scalded or iced.

‘How’s the temperature for you?’ asks the washer. ‘Fine,’ you say through clenched teeth, because you’ve learnt the water has only two temperatures: hotter than the surface of the sun or colder than the North Sea. Take your pick.

Claudia (pictured) revealed she won’t miss going to open a gossip magazine, only to discover a clump of somebody else’s hair lurking between the pages

11 ‘Would you like a head massage?’ If you’re lucky, you might get a few minutes of blissful relaxation, so of course you say yes. But the bitter reality is that often you get a bored junior with jagged nails and a lot of rings aggressively scratching your scalp for two minutes at the sink of torture. Customers want to emerge from a salon with a bouncy new hairdo, not whiplash.

12 The weird awkwardness of holding a conversation with another person by looking at them, and yourself, in a mirror. If you’re getting a cut, blow-dry and a full head of colour that adds up to around three hours of chit chat.

Whenever a stylist asks me if I am going out that evening or planning any holidays, I feel obliged to make something up so I sound less dull. That then requires keeping track of the exciting life I have invented so I don’t look blank when on my next visit she asks: ‘How are the snowboarding lessons going?’

13 Hairdressers studied a different kind of maths to you and I. Our half-an-inch off the ends is equivalent to their 3 in.

14 You’ve settled in for a long session and you spot your favourite trashy, guilty secret gossip magazine. You open the pages to read about the love woes of some sorry reality star only to find a matted clump of somebody else’s hair between the pages.

15 The girls who gossip to one another across the basins, oblivious to the fact you’re blinded by the shampoo in your eyes, your mascara is running down your face and the misdirected water is trickling down your back.

Claudia said we won’t miss the misery of hairdresser’s cutting an uninvited bob. Pictured: Claudia having her washed as part of the Yuko System

16 ‘Where’s your parting?’ asks the stylist. ‘Just there,’ you reply, pointing to the spot. ‘Here?’ asks the stylist, parting it in a completely different place. ‘Yes, that’s right,’ you say meekly.

17 You’re a professional and an adult woman, you take no nonsense at work or at home. So why do you find yourself stammering apologies when the stylist grabs your head and moves it roughly back to the centre after you dared to look in any direction other than straight ahead?

18 Every woman has had a bob at some point in her life. Whether she wanted it is another matter. It’s every hairdresser’s fallback style. We won’t miss the misery of an uninvited bob.

19 For middle-aged women, a fringe is a godsend. Hiding a wrinkly forehead, they’re a poor man’s Botox. But a fringe cut too short is surely the worst of all hairdressing disasters as the only fix is to wait for it to grow. In the meantime, you’re left looking like Jim Carrey in Dumb And Dumber.

20 If a customer didn’t arrive looking like a teased and primped show poodle, why would a hairdresser assume she’d want to leave looking like one?

Claudia (pictured) claims despite hating the cut and the colour, we often gush that the style is lovely and thank our hairdressers

21 Our sensitive little ears will have time to heal from all the times they’ve been nipped with scissors, blasted with a hairdryer and burned by straighteners.

22 A blow-dry should be done with a hairdryer. Why do so many hairdressers now blow-dry hair, only to totally flatten the life out of it afterwards with straightening irons?

23 Salons where you book a senior stylist to cut your hair, at great expense, but are then handed over to a gum-chewing junior to be ‘finished off’.

24 You hate the cut, you hate the colour, you hate your hairdresser. She holds the mirror up to show you the back and you find yourself saying: ‘Oh, that’s lovely, thank you very much.’

25 Just as dropped toast always lands butter-side down, it will always rain when you go to the hairdressers. Salon law dictates: the happier you are with your hairdo, the heavier the downpour. So be thankful for isolation!

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