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Aoife hopes diamonds are a girl's best friend with sparkling career

FORMER Rose of Tralee Aoife Kelly is starting a sparkling new career -- exporting diamonds from South Africa.

The beauty queen is preparing to launch her business in the coming weeks from her new base, where she has just spent Christmas with husband Leon de Klerk.

The new venture will see Aoife (24) and Leon importing diamonds to Ireland.

The couple will set the ball rolling next month, when they return home with their first batch of rocks.

The ambitious blonde, who won the Kerry-based contest in 2008, is also keeping herself busy by studying for a new part-time course in enterprise in South Africa.

Emigrant Aoife remained in her newly adopted home of South Africa this year for her first Christmas with Leon.

Aoife, from Tipperary, explained that the couple decided to stay abroad for their first holiday together as newlyweds and spent the festive season with Leon's family, enjoying an authentic South African celebration.

"Naturally, I'll be sorry not to get together with all the family this year for Christmas, but it makes more sense to stay in South Africa," she explained.

"We're coming home in January so it would be too expensive to pay for flights so close together.

"My parents understand. They only saw us a couple of months ago at the wedding when 100 of them from Ireland came over for it.

"We're having a fantastic time as newlyweds, I'm really enjoying it and living in South Africa has been amazing so far," she added.

Meanwhile, bubbly Aoife will have a visit from a well-known friend from home to look forward to in the New Year, with RTE star Daithi O'Se planning a visit.

The pair became friendly through the Rose of Tralee contest, with Daithi acting as one of the main judges on last year's panel, which saw him and Aoife sent on a trip to Dubai together to judge the local leg of the Dubai Rose of Tralee contest.

The All Ireland Talent Show judge was due to attend the wedding last October, but had to pull out due to his filming commitments.

He is now hoping to take a holiday at Easter, once the national broadcaster's answer to ITV series Britain's Got Talent officially wraps.