Miss SA: Exquisite expense

2015-03-29 15:00

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The 12 excited Miss SA 2015 finalists huddle together backstage at the Sun City Superbowl on Thursday, as they rehearse for Sunday evening’s finale. The pageant will be televised live on M-Net and Mzansi Magic from 5.30pm. The girls hoping to win the prestigious title are, in front, from left, Kim Wentzel, Liesl Laurie, Chanelle Sardinha, Taryn Morris, Shanè Naidoo, Busi Mahlangu and Sihle Makhanya. At the back, from left, are Nicole Lee Lamberts, Danelle de Wet, Ntsiki Mkhize, Gugulethu Banda and Refilwe Mthimunye.
Picture: Yolanda van der Stoep

The expression “beauty comes from within” may be noble, but a great personality alone has never won a beauty contest. The harsh reality is that Miss SA is not just a pretty face, but a very expensive one.

By the time the 12 finalists appear on stage at the Sun City Superbowl tonight, their sponsors will have spent close on R2?million – more than R150?000 per contestant – on clothes, hair and make-up for the evening. That does not even take into account the thousands of rands finalists fork out just to make it to the finals.

“Miss SA must be incredibly well groomed. Her hair and nails must be perfect and she must be waxed almost all over. This is incredibly expensive,” says fashion designer Simon Rademan, a former Miss SA judge.

Girls cannot afford to wear the same colour of nail varnish for two days in a row, he says.

It will cost about R200?000 to have all 12 finalists’ hair done for tonight’s event. Make-up will cost more than R1?000 per finalist. In addition, evening gowns for the occasion easily cost R80?000 each, and the girls will change their clothes at least three times.

This is on top of the money the girls cough up just to be nominated as a finalist, says Rademan.

“Participants must submit a portfolio of photographs (between R2?000 and R4?000) and must make sure their hair, nails and make-up

are impeccable.

“They also have to start welfare projects – for which they often have to pay a lot out of their own pocket – and have to attend all sorts of top events to market themselves.”

If participants have a private gym instructor, it can cost R5?000 a month.

Lorna Potgieter-Rossetti, Miss SA 1984, who was formerly involved in the organisation of the competition, says she understands why girls are upset if they do not win.

“You put an awful lot of time and money into the competition, and the winner takes everything.”

Marilyn Ramos, Miss SA 2012, says it costs a girl a great deal just to reach the final.

“Your nails must always be neat, you have to stay fit and healthy and must pay for your own make-up and skin-care products. If you are selected as a finalist, you must have several new outfits to wear to functions and gala events every day for five weeks. It’s really expensive,” she says.

Ramos spent a lot of money on the rhino conservation project she was involved in and had to travel regularly from Klerksdorp to a farm in Hoedspruit, which required a lot of time and fuel.

Fanie Cronjé, Sarie’s style and social editor, says there’s nothing wrong with the competition costing so much because it boosts other industries – such as the make-up and fashion industries in South Africa. “It’s an amazing production that creates jobs and contributes to the economy.”

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