Sixteen women will compete for the Miss SA title next month, and Eloise van der Westhuizen, 24, of Panorama, will be among them.
Eloise holds a B.Com and Honours degree in logistics and supply chain management from Stellenbosch University and works as a merchandise planner at a large chain store’s head office in Parow.
This year, the ceremony will be held on Women’s Day, Friday August 9.
“Miss SA seeks to celebrate women and any platform that looks to empower and celebrate women. Miss SA also encourages and inspires girls from different cultures to feel comfortable in their own skin and to stay true to who they are. What better day to embrace femininity than on Women’s Day?” says Eloise.
She is no stranger to beauty pageants and was crowned Miss Tygerberg in 2012 and clinched the second-princess spot in the Miss Varsity Cup in 2013.
She believes she is up to the job of being the next Miss SA and wants to inspire girls and help them to “pay it forward” as young women.
“I am committed to South Africa and its people, and as Miss SA, I would be here to serve and not to be served.”
She says her role models are former Miss SA She cites former Miss SA Basetsana Kumalo and “Oupa Ben” her 93-year-old grandfather, who “is young at heart and always armed with his stylish hat and comb in his back pocket”.
She says her grandfather taught her the true meaning of unconditional love when her grandmother fell ill and was in a wheelchair for 13 years.
“He has a great sense of humour, always sees the positive side of life and is still eager to learn even at his age”.
Her father, Albert, is a project engineer at Transnet, her mother, Yvonne, is an events and incentives manager at a cellphone company and her sister, Nicola, 22, has a BSc in physiology and anatomy and is now studying a BSc in clinical technology.
Eloise enjoys being a “tourist in her own city” in her spare time.
“I enjoy climbing Lion’s Head, running along Sea Point promenade or enjoying a meal with friends and family. I have a passion for music and creative arts. I started playing piano at the age of 11 years and have enjoyed playing it ever since.”
If she takes the crown, she would like to meet Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education who in 2014, at the age of 17, became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
“She stood up for what she believed in despite adversity and did not allow her age or circumstances to determine what she wanted to achieve.”
Eloise says young women have different strengths and weaknesses and should always be confident in their own individuality, no matter their circumstances.
“The future is yours to create, so work hard, dream big and be true to yourself.”
Bonang Matheba will host this year’s pageant at the Sun Arena at Time Square, Pretoria. It 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 pageant, with the winner walking away with R1 million in cash and other prizes.
The runner-up takes home R250 000 in cash, and all 16 finalists will get R25 000.
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