SA’s Rolene is Miss World

2014-12-15 00:00

A SOUTH African is Miss World for the first time in 40 years.

Free Stater Rolene Strauss (22) was crowned at a pageant in London last night.

“It’s indescribable! You dream this dream with your child and now that it has happened, it’s like a dream,” her mother Theresa told sister paper Volksblad after the pageant at the ExCel Centre in London.

Anneline Kriel wore the Miss World crown in 1974 and before her, Penny Coelen in 1958.

“The moment she was crowned, we were able to give her a quick hug. She immediately got a bodyguard, so we don’t really have access to her anymore,” said her mother.

Strauss, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Free State, had been installed as a favourite to win the crown by numerous websites and pageant watchers since the drawn-out finals began at the beginning of the month.

She won the fitness competition and placed third in the sports category. Her Beauty with a Purpose charity project was placed in the top 10 — but it was evidently the confident manner in which she handled questions during last night’s event that gained her the top spot, ahead of Miss Hungary and Miss United States.

Each of the five finalists was asked why they wanted to win. While the others focused on what it would mean to them, Strauss spoke about the values she would want to demonstrate. She said values like unity, forgiveness and reconciliation are important to South Africa, and also for the Miss World movement. When she was named winner, Strauss said: “South Africa this is for you. I think I will brace myself for what’s about to happen. It’s a huge responsibility.”

“Since I met Rolene for the first time … I was struck by her self-confidence and grace,” said Professor Jonathan Jansen, the rector of UFS.

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