The annual search for the city's fairest face kicked off yesterday when 16 young women were presented to the media as contestants for the coveted title of Miss Hong Kong 2006. As well as hopeful Hongkongers, there are four contestants from overseas this year - two each from the United States and Canada. Initially the pageant, which is organised by TVB and is in its 33rd year, was only open to contestants born in Hong Kong or who held a valid HKID card, but since 1991 the contest has been open to applicants from overseas as well. The 16 women, who are aged from 19 to 25, will compete through a series of stages that culminate on August 12 with the crowning of the new beauty queen. The pageant has proved to be a platform for aspiring singers and actresses, with notable former contestants including In the Mood for Love star Maggie Cheung Man-yuk and model Michelle Reis. This year's contestants, introduced to the media yesterday at the Grand Promenade in Sai Wan Ho, include 21-year-old Liz Tsang, who wants to be an actress, 23-year-old student Amy Tsang, another aspiring actress, 19-year-old student Chloe Nguyen, who wants to be a gemologist, and 23-year-old Koni Lui, who enjoys bowling. The winner and first and second runner-up can expect to represent Hong Kong at larger international pageants, such as Miss World, Miss International and Miss Chinese International. The pageant finale will be held at the Hong Kong Coliseum.