Beauty with a purpose, are the words that Pauline Maree lives by, and this motto has helped her reach the top 19 of the Miss Universities South Africa 2017 pageant.
Ms Maree is a third-year electrical engineering student at Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
The 23-year-old grew up in Zimbabwe, but her family moved to South Africa in 2009, as her country’s economy worsened.
Her family moved to Grabouw, where she attended Umyezo High School, matriculating in 2013. She wanted to study medicine but couldn’t get in and decided on electrical engineering instead.
The pageant’s contestants have to take part in various charity campaigns, but this is nothing new for Ms Maree, who has been cooking for Bellville’s homeless people since her first year at university.
“Not all of them are on the streets because they want to be. I often sit and eat with them, listening to their stories,” she said.
Her love for sharing and helping her fellow man goes back to when she was a little girl, always sharing the little lunch she had with others.
She is collecting blankets and fleece tops to donate to victims of the inferno that swept through Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, earlier this year.
Ms Maree believes the pageant will help her to inspire young women.
“I believe in beauty with a purpose, and I dedicated my life to serving the community and the world at large. As a woman, you can’t just be beautiful – you need substance and to use this beauty to inspire others,” she said.
Ms Maree has three brothers and times have not always been easy for the family: her parents recently lost their jobs. She received a full bursary to study at CPUT and is determined to make a success of her career, not just for her but her family.
“My main desire is to be an influential woman of God and everything I do is to fulfill that goal,” she said.
The winner will be crowned at the end of September.