Model asks for donations to fund US holiday

A New Zealand model is asking the public for thousands of dollars so she can fly to the US to visit her American boyfriend, where they plan to do "cute couple stuff".

Leah Pao met Sammy Abu-Hijab, a massage therapist from San Francisco, while he was in New Zealand on a working visa.

Ms Pao, who described Abu-Hijab as "the love of my life", said the pair decided to pursue a long-distance relationship because they "both deserve love and each other" in a GiveALittle appeal that seeks NZ$2000 (AU$1919) from the public.

Ms Pao told Stuff that she was attracted to Abu-Hijab because he was American, saying that Kiwi men "just don't cut it" and "international men are more worldly and less closed-minded".

Leah Pao has come under fire after asking for donations to visit her US boyfriend, Sammy Abu-Hijab. Picture: Instagram.
Leah Pao has come under fire after asking for donations to visit her US boyfriend, Sammy Abu-Hijab. Picture: Instagram.

The online appeal makes it clear that Pao is seeking the funds to enhance her trip, saying the donations will make it "even more litty" and will enable the pair to do "cute couple stuff" such as "turning up", food, flights, shopping and "touristy tingz".

Those who donate won't go home empty-handed however, with Ms Pao promising to update her Instagram followers using the hashtag #SammyAndLeahTakeAmerica.

Ms Pao has since responded to the backlash on Instagram, posting negative comments that she had received on Facebook.

The model said she kept on being told there were more worthy causes like people who "are hungry and stuff", but pointed out she wasn't making anyone donate.

Ms Pao said the money would be for ‘cute couple stuff’. Picture: Instagram.
Ms Pao said the money would be for ‘cute couple stuff’. Picture: Instagram.

"OK, well go and donate to that cause … I'm not forcing anyone to do anything," she said.

Ms Pao said that she didn't "give a s**t" about the backlash she had received, even going so far as to say it was entertaining.

"I know there is a lot of pages and causes out there that deserve it," she said.

"I've literally said what this money going to be used for, it's just so hilarious, they're really coming for me and Sammy.

"But I really don't give a s**t, this is pure entertainment. I'm giving you guys some entertainment for the day as well. Have a great day everyone."

She hit back at the criticism, saying it was ‘entertainment’. Picture: Instagram.
She hit back at the criticism, saying it was ‘entertainment’. Picture: Instagram.

Ms Pao and Mr Ab-Hijab recently shared their love story with theNew Zealand Herald, with Mr Abu-Hijab telling readers that he loved Ms Pao for her heart, her smile and her "bomb skin", adding that he also loved "how humble and nice she is when people she doesn't even know tell her that they love her".

For her part, Ms Pao revealed how she loved how secure her new partner is with himself and said: "Not many people besides my family can handle my wild ways so to have him beside me is an amazing feeling."

At the time of publication the appeal, which was launched two days ago, had raised more than NZ$364 (AU$349).

This story first appeared on the New Zealand Herald and is reproduced with permission