‘Wild’ past haunts Miss SA

2012-06-30 17:44

Reigning Miss South Africa Melinda Bam and the pageant owners, South International, became the subject of much speculation when it was announced this week that she would not be taking part in the Miss World competition.

In a press release sent out on Thursday afternoon, Sun International announced that first princess Remona Moodley would represent South Africa at the Miss World competition to be held in China in August.

Bam, it said, would not take part due to “personal” reasons.

Yesterday, Sun International still refused to expand on what those reasons could be.

The protective veil of silence has led to wide speculation.

A City Press source close to the pageant and the beauty queen herself, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said Sun International had taken a decision to withdraw Bam from Miss World because “they felt they would be backing a losing horse”.

“Melinda has cultivated a reputation for being a good-time, sexy girl and Miss World is not about that. Sun International felt Remona would stand a better chance,” said the source.

However, Bam’s perceived image of being less than wholesome is not just about her penchant for mini-skirts and posing seductively and near-nude for lad magazine FHM.

According to our source, the blonde beauty (23) has fallen prey to every starlet’s worst nightmare – or dream: being the subject of a bunch of nude photographs.

“She has nude pictures which were going to go on a [guy magazine] website, but Sun International stepped in and bought out the whole lot to protect her reputation.

“They are now worried that if she goes to Miss World, there’s a chance those pictures might be dug up. They’d rather play safe than be sorry later.”

On Thursday night, Bam became defensive when City Press approached her at the Fikile Mbalula Foundation launch regarding her withdrawal from Miss World.

“As we said in the press statement, it’s a personal matter.

“I’m not prepared to say more about this issue.”

Social network Twitter was abuzz with speculation, ranging from the “secret” stash of nude pictures to the former model being pregnant.

Sun International spokesperson Sue Klerck refused to be drawn on the subject. “We are going to respect Melinda’s wishes that this must be kept quiet.

“If it had been something improper, we would not have allowed her to keep the title.”

On the Miss World website where the participants’ faces are shown, South Africa’s was still blank yesterday afternoon.

Klerck says there’s nothing strange about Bam’s withdrawal.

“She isn’t pregnant. Because then she must have had sex. And to have sex, you must have a boyfriend, and that’s against the rules of the competition.”

Klerck describes the rumours about nude photos as ridiculous. “And she isn’t sick. She hasn’t got Aids. The media are taking this out of all proportion.”

Responding to whether, as an ambassador for South Africa, Bam doesn’t owe it to the country to explain, Klerck said the constitution protects every member of the Republic, including Miss SA.

She added that the withdrawal was not an unusual occurrence, saying that when Vanessa Carreira was Miss SA, she also withdrew from the Miss World competition because it was held in Nigeria. At the time that country had a policy of stoning pregnant women who weren’t married.

The competition later moved to the UK, but it was too late for Carreira to enter.

» Additional reporting by City Press staff

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