A radiant Liesl Laurie has just been crowned Miss South Africa 2015 at a glittering ceremony held at the Sun City Superbowl last night. We caught up with the newly crowned beauty for a little Q&A, check it out…
An excited and overwhelmed Laurie – a 23-year-old B.Com graduate from Eldorado Park – said she was determined to make a difference during her reign.
In her Miss South Africa acceptance speech said: “I am ready for the responsibility that has been placed on my shoulders. Taking on the title of Miss South Africa, I look forward to exploring our beautiful country, to see its beautiful landscape but most importantly to connect with its people. I am proud to stand here as an ambassador of South Africa and my fellow South Africans.
“My legacy would be to be a Miss South Africa for South Africans, for the people. I want every person to see a little bit of themselves in me. Being an inspiration and a beacon of hope is what I strive for. I want each person to look at me and remember that one can be as great as you want to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination and the dedication you can achieve anything.”
She also thanked her mentor Tatum Keshwar for her input and advice.
As Miss South Africa 2015 Laurie has won cash, a car and products valued at nearly R2 million. Included in this package, sponsor Cell C is giving the winner access to R200 000 to spend on random acts of kindness.
Check out our Q&A below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about your family and growing up?
I grew up with my grandmother, mother and younger sister. My grandmother is my favourite person in the world and I thank God for the blessing I have had to constantly be around her throughout my life. She is the wisest and most selfless person I know. She is a 67-year- old retired teacher and the founder of POCCO. I have a younger sister, Micheala, who will be finishing primary school and starts her schooling career at the National School of Arts, majoring in drama studies. My mother, Karen, is a high school teacher and the silliest, most fun-loving person I know. When the two of us are together there is always laughter and joy around.
2. What’s a normal day like in the life of Liesl Laurie?
Well I graduated with a B.Com General Degree from the University of Johannesburg in April last year. After graduating, I decided to take the rest of the year off from university to pursue a full time career in modelling and also to embark on my journey of giving back to my community and my country. I have been working with a number of Non-Profit Organisations that include Babies Behind Bars and Pilgrim Oasis Community Children’s Outreach in Eldorado Park and adjacent informal settlement in Kliptown. I then launched my own NPO The Pearl Project, which aims to create a beacon of hope club through motivational and educational workshops for young girls and is held at various schools in my community. I believe that being a blessing to others has truly enriched my life.
3. Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you and why?
Bokang Montjane. She was born and raised in a village called Ga-Mphahlele in Limpopo and won the prestigious title, showing that it doesn’t matter where you come from, but what matters is where you are going. I am from a community in the south of Johannesburg that is known to be poverty stricken and troubled, but I believe that I have what it takes to become a beacon of hope for my community. I believe, too, that small town girls have what it takes to become an ambassador for their country.
4. Why did you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?
As a little girl I would watch the Miss South Africa pageant and tell myself that one day I would be taking part. I dreamt that I would wear those shiny dresses, strutting my stuff down the runway with that amazing sparkle in my eye and my heart bursting with joy and excitement. I believe everything I am, every obstacle I have faced, and everything I have achieved, has led me to this point. Being Miss South Africa will allow me to reach out to more young people than I am currently able to do. I want to motivate them to rise to the challenge of building a better and brighter future as South Africans.
5. What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
It’s not where you come from but where you are going and never let any situation or encounter define who you are. You are more than your struggle and more than your tragedy. You can be and do anything if you believe in yourself. Don’t ever lose the little girl you are or once were as you grow up. Dreaming makes life beautiful and one day fulfilling your dreams will make life worth it. Finally, never forget to thank God for your blessings. Believe in yourself. Be yourself!
6. What do you do in your spare time?
I love spending time with my family and friends, playing board games. I am the champion at the games Rummikub and 30 Seconds. When I am with my four best friends we enjoy going on road trips and visiting different holiday destinations. When I have a few free hours to spare, my favourite thing to do is to go out to the mall with my girls. I dance to stay fit and belong to a spiritual dance group at my church. I also enjoy curling up with a good book, watching a romantic comedy or an action movie, depending on my mood. Some of the other activities I love doing are baking, cooking, singing, and swimming.
7. What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
That I really am 23 years old instead of 16. Most people are astonished when I tell them how old I am. I look much younger and that’s a blessing that will come in handy in the next 15years.
8. What are you currently reading?
I have just finished reading The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. I read it as research for The Pearl Project. I love borrowing books from the library instead of buying them. Visiting the library makes the experience of reading more exciting.
9. What would we find on your iPod?
I recently added the new Chris Brown album. I love RnB and Pop music but my playlist consists of a little bit of every genre, even reggae. I have to start my day with my favourite song: William McDowell featuring Blanca – Closer (Wrap Me in Your Arms).
10. Your favourite TV show?
I do not spend a lot of time watching television but my favourite series is Suits. I have the biggest crush on the character Harvey Specter!