A big well done to our new Miss South Africa – Adè van Heerden, the 1st Princess to former Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, has been crowned the new Miss South Africa today in light of Nel-Peters’ recent win at the Miss Universe Pageant.
Earlier this month, Van Heerden was placed in the Top 10 at the Miss World pageant where she competed as Miss World South Africa. This was a first for South Africa where a princess was placed in the final 10. She was also announced winner of Beauty with a Purpose along with four other contestants.
Says Van Heerden, a 26-year-old medical doctor and lieutenant at 2 Military Hospital in Cape Town: “Having only three weeks to prepare for Miss World and placing in the Top 10 as well as winning the Beauty with a Purpose project were achievements beyond my wildest dreams. But what I will carry with me forever is the immense pride I felt in being able to represent South Africa. I am delighted that I will be able to continue doing so as Miss South Africa.”
She said she was overjoyed when Demi was crowned Miss Universe: “Demi has worked to make her dream a reality and I am elated to celebrate this victory with her. I know that I have big shoes to fill but am thrilled and humbled to wear the Miss South Africa crown. Previous Miss South Africa’s have already welcomed me into the sisterhood with open arms, and I realise that I now have the responsibility of continuing the Miss South Africa legacy. A legacy that leads women of all cultures, spreads love and unite South Africans.”
During her Miss South Africa reign, Van Heerden would like to continue to focus on mental health issues, particularly amongst young women.
“I would like to concentrate on a range of mental health issues – from depression and eating disorders to anxiety and how to build confidence. One of the side effects of social media platforms is that girls have become incredibly critical of themselves and they often feel unworthy. I would like to use social media as a platform to address this.”
Asked what she wanted to bring to the role as Miss South Africa, Van Heerden said: “The role of Miss South Africa is ever evolving and women in our generation are stepping into important leadership positions on all fronts. I believe that I am representative of the ‘new and upcoming’ generation of women in our country. We are smart, assertive and informed, but also empathetic and caring. This reflects in my calling as a doctor in the military – I’m not afraid to stand my ground on a physical or emotional level. I hope to lead as dynamically and as open mindedly as I live my life.”
From New York the new Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters sent the new Miss South Africa her congratulations: “You have demonstrated on the Miss World stage what you are capable of and I know you are going to make all South Africans proud. Welcome to the Miss South Africa club! I wish you everything of the best.”
It is a sentiment echoed by Sun International’s PR Manager Claudia Henkel: “I know that Adè will continue the reign with the same commitment, poise and grace and make a meaningful contribution to the lives of many young South Africans.”