LOCAL beauty pageant finalist Karishma Govender (21), from Verulam, is passionate about helping other people achieve their goals in life. Govender is one of the finalists in the Glow TV Miss UniWorld South Africa 2018 pageant. The beauty pageant will be held at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom on August 10 and August 11. Coastal Weekly journalist Andile Sithole had the chance to chat with Govender recently. Andile Sithole (AS): Where did you grow up? Karishma Govender (KG): I was born and brought up in 8 Starling Place in Mountview, Verulam. My name [Karishma] means miracle. AS: What is your star sign? KG: My star sign is Capricorn. I do believe in my star sign and my birth date is January 10, 1997. AS: Tell me a little about your family. KG: My parents are Bala and Cindy Govender. I’m the middle child. I have an elder brother Gavin and a younger sister Simren. AS: Tell me about your education, where did you study? KG: I schooled at Mounthaven Primary and completed my matric at Mountview Secondary. I am a student at Durban University of Technology studying Textile Technology.I’m doing my internship at Zodiac Aerospace Pisa and will go back to campus in July. During my schooling career, I used to play a lot of sport and I did acting. My favourites are volleyball and cricket. I am very energetic and ready to jump at any opportunity for an adventure. AS: What are some of your likes and dislikes? KG: The most important things to me is family (including my pets), God, education and independence. I have insane love for nature and wildlife. My dislikes are that I am misjudged too soon because of my outgoing personality. I don’t like to stay idle and hate doing nothing for too long. I always have to be up and about. I have a crazy phobia for lizards. I am a hard core Tamil tiger and I respect every religion and cannot tolerate criticism on religion. AS: You grew up in Verulam, please talk to us about your childhood memories. Were you always passionate about modelling? KG: During primary school I was very quiet at first, until my shell broke and from then nobody could stop me. I love dressing up, acting and dancing. AS: You are a Glow TV Miss UniWorld South Africa finalist for 2018, what motivated you to enter this competition? KG: My mother and sister told me there’s nothing wrong with just trying to enter the pageant. I honestly thought I wouldn’t get through to national level, but what I realised was that beauty is from within and my story will make a difference. The UniWorld pageant saw that as well. I come from an average home. My father is my strength my mom is my power. Both are divine. My parents and siblings have supported me throughout the competition. AS: Tell me about your passion for modelling, when and how did it all start? KG: This is my first time modelling and I know there will be more to come to open many doors for me. I believe if you do something with passion and love, everything becomes natural and effortless. AS: What do you hope to achieve in the years to come? KG: I will be an independent empowered woman who will be able to say I made a difference and will continue to make a difference.I also believe that if you haven’t experienced the lows in life, how would you take another person seriously and feel what they are feeling. Experience is the best way to know another person’s pain. AS: Are there any local organisations that you are working with at the moment? KG: I did some charity [work] on my own in my area giving out goodies for Easter. I also did work with the Rotary Club of Verulam, assisting the Igamalihle Home in Inanda on a monthly basis by providing them with groceries. We also started a small vegetable garden for them. Later on we completed a feeding project at the Senzokuhle Childcare Center in La Mercy which had 25 children. AS: What is your message to the youth out there who want to follow in your footsteps? KG: Create your own lane and never be a copy of someone else. Your unique ways can make a difference. Never stop working. Go for everything that they said you couldn’t have, be humble and kind.