Lorraine Downes
Downes in the Oval Office,1984
Lorraine Elizabeth Downes

(1964-06-12) 12 June 1964 (age 60)
Height1.74 m (5 ft 8+12 in)
(m. 1986; div. 2001)
(m. 2009; died 2016)
Beauty pageant titleholder
TitleMiss New Zealand 1983
Miss Universe 1983
Hair colorBlonde
Eye colorBlue green
Miss New Zealand 1983
Miss Universe 1983

Lorraine Elizabeth Downes (born 12 June 1964) is a New Zealand dancer and beauty queen who won the Miss Universe title in 1983 and the New Zealand version of the reality TV show Dancing with the Stars in 2006.[1][2]

Early life

Downes was born in Auckland to Lloyd and Glad Downes.[3] She is one of four daughters, Her sisters are Sue, Jenny and Carolyn.[4]

Miss Universe

Downes won the Miss New Zealand title and went on to represent her country at the 1983 Miss Universe pageant broadcast live from St. Louis, Missouri in July 1983.[5] After the preliminary competition, Downes made the top twelve cut in sixth place, but placed second in the final evening gown competition, third in the interview competition, and fourth in swimsuit. She made the final five in third place behind Julie Hayek of the USA and Lolita Morena of Switzerland, and was eventually crowned Miss Universe.

She wore a midnight blue gown and long gloves during the competition. Downes' win was New Zealand's first in the pageant's history, although Diana Delyse Nottle had placed second runner-up to Shawn Weatherly in 1980 and Donella Thomsen was a semi-finalist in 1981. No other delegate from New Zealand made the cut until 1992.

Life after Miss Universe

In 1986, Lorraine Downes married Murray Mexted, a New Zealand rugby All Black, with whom she had two children, before divorcing in 2001. She also has a successful business in New Zealand. In 2009, Downes married former New Zealand international cricket captain Martin Crowe. She and Crowe remained together until his death from lymphoma in 2016.[6][7]

After years of relative anonymity, Downes competed in and won the New Zealand version of Dancing with the Stars in 2006 with dance partner Aaron Gilmore.[6]


  1. ^ Croot, James (10 July 2023). "Forty years after winning Miss Universe, Lorraine Downes looks back in new documentary". Stuff. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  2. ^ "Downes crowned winner of Dancing with the Stars [audio report]". NZ Herald. 28 July 2023. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  3. ^ "Cancer survivor a model of inspiration". NZ Herald. 28 July 2023. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  4. ^ "Lorraine Downes and her mum: 'We've never been so close'". Now To Love. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  5. ^ "Lorraine Downes crowned Miss Universe". nzhistory.govt.nz. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  6. ^ a b McKenzie-Minifie, Martha (27 December 2006). "Catching up with: Lorraine Downes, dancing queen". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 January 2007.
  7. ^ "Wedding bells for Crowe and Downes". 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011. Wedding bells will be ringing very soon for Martin Crowe and former Miss Universe Lorraine Downes.
Awards and achievements Preceded by Karen Baldwin Miss Universe 1983 Succeeded by Yvonne Ryding Preceded byNorm Hewitt & Carol-Ann Hickmore Dancing with the Stars winner 2006 (Season 2) With: Aaron Gilmore Succeeded bySuzanne Paul & Stefano Olivieri