What's wrong with this picture? ... Katrina Hayman was snapped swilling a beer at the Taranaki Bride of the Year contest. Photo: Cameron Burnell/Taranaki Daily News
She had a beer. So what.
Stubbie-swilling Katrina Hayman has hit back after a photograph of her drinking a beer at a local Bride of the Year competition ''outraged'' New Zealand and caused a controversy that made headlines as far away as the UK.
Organisers of the bridal event called for an apology, many New Zealanders expressed their displeasure and online commentators slammed the photo as "disgusting" after it appeared in the Taranaki Daily News yesterday.
But the woman at the centre of the storm can’t understand what the fuss is about.
"I mean, that is just the type of person I am," said Ms Hayman, whose occupation was listed as a ''pig midwife'' on a Hawera farm by the newspaper
"I don't like to portray myself as someone I am not. A lot of females drink beer and it's just I felt more comfortable having a beer than having a wine."
Ms Hayman, who married in March and appeared at the event to model her bridal gown, was snapped knocking back the beer backstage.
The local newspaper’s decision to run the picture on its front page drew ire from organisers, who said it portrayed the event in a poor light.
Taranaki Bride of the Year co-convener Lynn Gilbert-Smith asked for an apology.
"As I am sure many would have preferred to have seen a photo on the front page of the winning bride of the year, rather than a free commercial for Tui,’’ she wrote in a complaint to the Daily News.
But Ms Hayman said she loved the photograph and accompanying story, and had received nothing but support from her friends, family and new husband.
She said no-one would have commented if she had been sipping a glass of wine.
"So what if I enjoy a Tui (beer) over drinking wine and I haven't hurt anybody doing that. Only a lot of jealous people would be negative, at the end of the day we are meant to be ourselves," she said.
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