The Miss South Africa pageant has received a dramatic and exciting makeover.
Part of the extensive revamp is that the new Miss South Africa will be crowned in March 2014, instead of December, which means that unlike previous years, she will get to reign in the year of her appointment.
Meanwhile, popular former Miss South Africa Melinda Bam has been appointed to a new post as National Executive of Miss South Africa Pty Ltd joining the Miss South Africa team.
Bam – who made the Top 10 of Miss Universe last year after being crowned Miss South Africa 2011 – was recently awarded the title of the Sexiest Woman in the World for 2013 by the local edition of men's magazine FHM.
The changes are all part of a concerted drive by Sun International to grow the Miss South Africa brand and make it relevant for today’s young generation.
Says Sue Klerck of Sun International, long-time licence holders of the annual competition: “It made huge sense to move the pageant from December to March. It allows the title holder to compete internationally at the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants which are typically held during the last two months in the year of their reign. Also in previous years, our current title holder has been away competing internationally and was unable to attend the pageant to hand over the crown to the new Miss South Africa.”
No Miss South Africa will be crowned in 2013 and the current Miss South Africa, Marilyn Ramos, who walked away with the title in December 2012, will reign until March next year.
Says Ramos: “I am delighted to be the holder of the Miss South Africa sash for an extra three months. I have learned valuable lessons in such a short time thanks to the wonderful opportunities being Miss South Africa 2012 has afforded me and the kindness and generosity of spirit of the many South Africans that I have met during my reign.”
As one of the most successful Miss South Africa title holders of recent years and with a considerable local and international following, Melinda Bam is expected to bring a fresh insight to Miss South Africa in her dynamic new role as National Executive.
Explains Bam: “I have been appointed to add and enhance new projects and initiatives for Miss South Africa with regards to her charity work, sponsorship associations, preparations for international competitions and what is expected of her during the year of her reign. I truly had a passion for my year as Miss South Africa, the brand and the impact it has. How can I not give back to it? I think that having gone through the experience, I have an edge and I understand the needs, the shortcomings and the opportunities to grow both the pageant and the brand in the future.
“We will undertake new projects and rebrand Miss South Africa in a way that makes it relatable to the public again, engage the public to grow a new sentiment around the brand and take Miss South Africa back to the people.”
What is her response to people who believe that beauty contests are past their sell-by date?
“I think they underestimate the role and impact of Miss South Africa due to an uninformed opinion or a lack of interest. When looking at society, popular culture and mass media, beauty is perceived as something that is superficial, unattainable, and unrealistic and sends a dangerous message influencing young women's self-image. Miss South Africa is a brand that embraces what it means to be feminine, but also places equal emphasis and exemplifies the deeper value of beauty with a purpose that empowers other women to have an enlightened self-image and self-worth.”
The Miss South Africa message for a new generation is clear: The Miss South Africa pageant is a powerful platform for developing potential. It is a celebration of the country’s savvy, smart and beautiful young women who are determined to be the best they can be while being true to themselves.
Says Bam: “I was proud to be crowned Miss South Africa. I believe in what it stands for, that beauty only enhances the qualities that are of much greater importance like having the drive to make a success of your future, living a generous life that impacts on someone else's and making a tangible change.”
Entries for Miss South Africa 2014 open on July 8, 2013 and close on August 31, 2013.
Bam’s advice to those young women who are planning to enter the pageant: “Enter when you believe you can bring more to the title than just wearing the crown and competing in the pageant. Miss South Africa is not a means to an end; it is the starting point of a journey to enhance the qualities you should already have!”
Entry forms will be available online from Monday, July 8, 2013 at www.misssa.co.za and www.facebook.com/MsSouthAfric