For the next fortnight the 35 Miss South Africa 2019 semi-finalists will be out to impress this year’s round of judges who are actress and motivational speaker Leandie du Randt; broadcaster and Miss South Africa 2015 Liesl Laurie; former runway model and casting director Andiswa Manxiwa; Miss South Africa 2010 Bokang Montjane-Tshabalala and Women’s Health editor Danielle Weakley.

By July 11 this prestigious panel will have made their decision and the Top 16 finalists will be revealed.

Bokang Montjane-Tshabalala explains what she will be looking for in a new Miss South Africa: “I want a young focused woman who will be a great ambassador for our country and a great role model for the youth. I’m looking for someone who is genuine and passionate about her causes to make a difference and change lives. So my advice is simple: Come prepared if you really want the title – seize the moment and give us your all. Stay true to your views, be authentic, give us who you are and not who you think we want you to be.”

Her views are echoed by her Miss South Africa sister Liesl Laurie: “The person has to be a true ambassador for our rainbow nation – a strong, compassionate, confident and relatable young woman who is proudly South African in everything she does. Most importantly, she needs to be ready for the title and the responsibility that comes along with it. From my own experience, I can say that this is one of the most important job interviews of your life, prepare for it as such. Know your country, know yourself and be ready for the most exciting roller coaster ride. Remember to be kind to yourself and others in the competition; you could not only walk away with a title and crown but with a sisterhood that will be there for you for the rest of your life.”

Says Andiswa Manxiwa: “What I will be looking for in the potential Miss South Africa is what I refer to as an ‘all-rounder’ and that is a young woman who is beautiful inside and out, who is authentic and not apologetic for who she is, yet totally relatable. A young woman will be able to powerfully express herself, in a feminine, classy way. A leader to her generation. Knowledge is power. The effort you put into anything is the reward you will receive. Remember that what you believe about yourself is what we will believe about you. Lastly, whatever you do, be yourself. Do not let your background and your current circumstances hold you back. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, it is what you carry inside, how you carry it and where you’re going that matters.”

Being yourself is also the number one piece of advice from Leandie du Randt: “Don’t try and be someone you are not or what you think the judges or public want to you to be – pretence can be seen a mile away. I think the most groundbreaking Miss South Africas have always been those who showed the judges and public what the country needed and longed for, rather than the other way around. Authenticity will always be my most beautiful quality in a woman. Someone who is not afraid to be herself and to inspire others to be the best versions of themselves. Also, a lady who has warm and kind energy, making everyone feel like they are important and that they matter. Another important factor for me is someone who is certain of who she is – carrying herself with confidence, poise and respect; someone with clear visions for herself and her country.”

The last word to Danielle Weakley: “As editor of Women’s Health, I’m all for strong, not skinny, women who are healthy and fierce, both inside and out. I’m looking for a Miss South Africa who empowers women, not just with her story and her journey but with a powerful body, positive outlook and energy that inspires other women. That, and an understanding that as women we are always better together. Be comfortable in your own skin. Own your authenticity, your voice, your smarts, your beauty – and just relax and enjoy the ride.”

The Miss South Africa pageant takes place on Women’s Day, Friday, August 9, at Sun International’s flagship venue, the Sun Arena at Time Square, Pretoria and will be broadcast live on both M-Net and Mzanzi Magic.

There is close to R3 million in prize money and sponsorships for this year’s glittering pageant, with the winner walking away with R1 million in cash as well as a luxury car and other fabulous prizes. The first princess takes home R250 000 in cash, and all 16 finalists receive R25 000.

Miss South Africa is presented by Weil Entertainment in association with Sun International, Mousson and the LFP Group. Find out more here…

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