TONGAAT resident Melanie Pillay will represent her home town at the Mrs India South Africa beauty pageant at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban on August 25. Pillay is among the top finalists who will be contesting the beauty pageant. For Pillay, the aim of the beauty pageant is to empower women.“I am involved in community work and outreach programmes. I want to be an example to other women out there and empower them. Many people do not understand that the beauty pageant is all about empowering women. I want all women out there to embrace life and take it as a challenge. Women are so powerful. I always encourage women to pursue their goals and persevere in life,” Pillay said.Pillay is a mother of two boys and she said she drew her inspiration from her family members who are supporting her to pursue her dreams. “I am ecstatic to be chosen as a finalists in the Mrs India South Africa. I sent photos [to the organisers of the pageant] and I was over the moon when I received an e-mail confirming that I was chosen as one of the finalists to participate in the Mrs India SA,” she said. The organisation aims to promote and uplift the worth of women through pageantry. Participants must be women between the ages of 24 and 46 years.