The next jewel in the Miss SA crown

2012-12-16 10:00

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Marilyn Ramos is bound to shine at global pageants.

Marilyn Ramos is the kind of young woman who ticks all the right boxes when it comes to beauty queen credentials.

She’s tall (1.74m), slender (size 8), has a cappuccino complexion framed by a cascading wave of hair and has perfectly sized teeth that are not as offensively white as a game show host’s.

She also sits with her legs crossed at the ankles and her hands demurely on her lap.

What gives her age away, however, is the nervous girlie giggle and the way she sometimes lets the word ‘like’ slip through her perfectly practised, poised speech.

It’s at such moments you get a rare glimpse of a 21-year-old girl who, until a week ago, was just another student enjoying life away from home.

“It’s been a crazy week,” she says with an exuberant smile. “But quite an experience! Coming from student life to this is just unbelievable.

Everything has completely changed. It’s very overwhelming still. Getting used to this kind of lifestyle is a major routine shock, which is great because I don’t really like routine.

I’m enjoying this so much.”

Last Sunday night at the Sun City Superbowl, Ramos was catapulted from pretty small-town girl to the fairest in the country when she was crowned Miss SA 2012.

For her, this was the culmination of years of dedication in her pursuit of the sash and crown. But she bursts out laughing when I ask if she is a Toddlers & Tiaras cliché.

“Oh no! I only started when I was 12 and I only did a select few pageants. I’ve been in other pageants before, but Miss SA is the ultimate.

It’s like 10 levels above everything I’ve ever done before.

So obviously, this is a dream come true not only for me but for (my family) as well,” says Ramos, whose delicate shoulders have also been draped with sashes for Miss Valley of the Waves, Miss Rivonia, Model of the World and Miss Europe Junior.

Quite an impressive pageant CV for a 21-year-old.

This is partly why her mother, Yolandi Ramos, and aunt Zirelda Dyson went on to open a “development and deportment” school that runs etiquette and “finishing” classes.

But she is adamant she has never had the need to attend those classes because “I like doing my own thing”.

While her mother has retired from the pageant circuit and works in the auto-electrical family business, her aunt is the owner of a modelling school that is now embroiled in a court case.

If there’s one indication the girl from Klerksdorp has stepped into the big league, it’s how her number of Twitter followers increased during last week’s two-hour live show.

“I’m new on Twitter and only been on it for about three weeks. Before we went on stage, I checked my tablet and saw I had 155 followers.

That night, after the crowning, I checked again in my room and I had 1?400 followers. It’s crazy!”

Someone who is milking Ramos’ new-found celebrity for all it’s worth is her motocross racer brother Rob (20), who received about 50 Facebook friend requests – mostly from girls – by the end of his sister’s big night. “He loves it,” she laughs.

Taking over from dynamic personality Melinda Bam won’t be easy, but Ramos says she’s up for it.

“Melinda is beautiful. She made her mark, and she made it good and strong, so I am a bit intimidated. But at the same time, I know I can always go to her for advice and help. One of the reasons I look up to her so much is we come from the same congregation, the Christian Revival Church in Pretoria,” she adds.

Our time is up.

There’s a reporter from a fashion magazine waiting to quiz Ramos about style and beauty routines.

As she stands to hug me goodbye, her long legs seem to unfurl from under the hem of her lemon embroidered mini.

She may not be a classical beauty or a blonde bombshell, but she is going to kill at the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants.

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