Much excitement amongst the media as the announcement was shared that reigning Miss Universe Catriona Gray will join her predecessor Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, and three other well-known women, on the panel that will choose Miss South Africa 2019.

The Miss South Africa pageant spectacular takes place on Women’s Day, Friday, August 9 at Sun International’s flagship venue, the Sun Arena at Time Square, Pretoria. It will be televised live and simulcast on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) and Mzansi Magic (DStv Channel 161).

The all-female judging line-up includes some of the country’s most respected and influential personalities.

The line-up includes the queen of SA talk and radio jock, Anele Mdoda; actress and businesswoman Connie Ferguson and SA model, activist and lawyer Thando Hopa, who was the first woman with albinism to grace the cover of Vogue. It was while working as a prosecutor, that Hopa was scouted by leading fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee to work as a model.

Nel-Peters – one of SA’s national treasures – is delighted to be on the other side of the Miss South Africa stage for the first time: “This is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. What better way to celebrate Women’s Day than on home soil! I have been in these ladies’ shoes, so I understand what they are experiencing and I can relate to them in every aspect of the competition. I also know how much effort I put in as a competitor and how much dedication it takes to win, not only a national title but the most sought-after international title. Being an international model and having the experience of judging multiple national titles I believe my knowledge and experience will be valuable.”

“My message to the Top 16 is simple. Be genuine and be real! When you speak, speak from the heart. When you smile, smile with everything in you. In the words of the award-winning US TV producer Shonda Rhimes, ‘You can waste your life drawing lines or you can live your life crossing them’. I am so proud of each one of these contestants and applaud them for chasing their dream. By doing so they are already an inspiration and motivation,” says Nel-Peters.

Says Gray: “Having been through the pageant system by competing nationally, earning the right to represent my country at Miss Universe and then going on to win the title, I feel that I had first-hand experience of what’s required of a candidate to compete on a national and international level, as well as understanding what the role and platform represents. I will be looking for authenticity, confidence and purpose, to find the woman who will continue SA’s amazing success in the Miss Universe pageant.”

This year members of the public can vote for their favourite contestant on the Miss South Africa website – www.misssa.co.za. The winner of the People’s Choice will automatically make it to the Top 10 on pageant night.

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 other fabulous prizes. The runner-up takes home R250 000 in cash and all 16 finalists will receive R25 000.

Miss South Africa is presented by Weil Entertainment in association with Sun International and the LFP Group.

Tickets for this year’s pageant are on sale at Computicket Miss South Africa.

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