Johannesburg - If you see new Miss SA Tamaryn Green, you would think she was an old pro in the beauty business. But the 23-year-old, in a pink, fitted dress and silver platforms, says this has never been her everyday look.
"I was roomies with [fellow contestant and neuroscience student] Akhile Khoza, you know, and we would laugh about the little knowledge we had of makeup or dressing up so much. You should see my photos before the pageant," she says.
Green, who comes from Paarl, Western Cape, was scouted by Boss and began modelling as a hobby and a means to make money to help her family. Pageants she did because they "give you a voice and a platform where you can speak for people and inspire people".
She says it was her experience attending a fee-free public school that made her who she is.
“I moved from Worcester to Paarl at the age of nine and life there was so eye-opening and different. Not everybody had clothes. Often the teacher would have more concerns with managing our overpopulated classrooms. But I did well in matric. I worked hard and was able to pursue my medical degree at the University of Cape Town,” she says.
Green’s parents, both teachers, weren’t thrilled that she decided to enter Miss SA.
“They often would say, ‘Why now? Why in your final year of medicine?’ And I really didn’t have a great response but I just had a feeling, man, and my relationship with God had become better and I just knew that this was his plan for me.”
Greene says after getting through the first round, she had dinner with her family at the local steakhouse and told them she was going to participate.
She felt intimidated by the other participants.
NEWLY CROWNED: Miss South Africa 2018 Tamaryn Green. (Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press)
“I remember being in the same interview room as Thuli [Keyi, Green’s runner-up] and she spoke so well, such fluent English and she was captivating. I remember thinking ‘How will I beat that?’
“Even though I am coloured and I don’t speak very well English – also because of the school I went to, our resources weren’t the best – I am still grateful I attended there and knew to use my experiences to push me positively in the competition.”
Pageants are criticised for applying the Western standards of beauty of slim hips and narrow noses and do not represent South African women. But Green believes the contestants were all “different shapes and sizes”.
“Of course you have to be tall, but this was a competition like many others and it had its criteria. People don’t often see it in that way,” she says.
Green is grateful to have been granted a yearlong leave of absence from the university that will allow her to take on Miss SA duties.
“I will complete my degree after this year and I am so excited about all the projects I will be doing,” she says. “I can’t tell you the details now – I have to first speak to the organisers and get approval – but my ideas are around healthcare, women and children.”
About what she will do with her R1 million cash prize, Green’s face lights up.
“You know I still can’t believe that I won it and I really wasn’t doing it for the money – so much so that I don’t even know where I’ll spend it or what I’ll do,” she says.
“I have a lot of student loans though so I will talk to my parents to see if I should pay them off, but a great amount of the money will go to my parents."