Model begs strangers for money so she can fly to the U.S and be with her long-distance lover


A model is seeking donations for ‘extra spending money’ during a trip to the United States to see her long-distance boyfriend.

Leah Pao, 29, met the ‘love of her life’, Sammy Abu-hijab, 26, in October while he was on a working visa in New Zealand. 

But the San Francisco man was forced to fly home when his visa expired on January 31.

Now, the Auckland woman is raising funds to go towards ‘cute couple stuff’ when she flies north to visit him for a month in May. 

‘This money is just to make my trip extra bomb, it’ll just make everything more amazing,’ she told Stuff.

‘I’m not pretending this is going to some holy organisation, it’s literally just extra spending money for me and my man to have fun.’

Ms Pao said the couple were ‘inseparable’ over summer and have plans to visit restaurants and beaches in San Francisco, road trip to Texas, and go to Miami music festival Rolling Loud.

In three days, her Givealittle page has raised $369 of her $2000 goal.    

The Kiwi said men from her country ‘just don’t cut it’ and she was attracted to Abu-hijab, a massage therapist, because he is American.

She said: ‘International men are more worldly and less closed-minded. I’ve had three serious relationships and they’ve all been with Americans. 

The retail manager has documented the couple’s love story over Instagram with her 7200 plus followers and said donors will be able to keep up with her trip online. 

‘If you wanna get in on the fun, ya’ll can literally share our journey w us via my Instagram,’ she wrote on her fundraiser page. 

‘It will go towards cute couple stuff aka turning up, food, flights if we wanted to randomly go on a trip, shopping, touristy tingz etc.

‘I’m going to save up my own money, but the crowdfund money will DEF help out heaps. It’ll make our trip even more litty!’  

Abu-hijab intends to relocate to New Zealand on a partnership visa in October. 

In 2018, Ms Pao featured in New Zealand Fashion Week dressed by Miromoda,  an indigenous Maori fashion brand, and was one of only three models with a Polynesian background.   


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