Johannesburg – It's been over a year since Tamaryn Green was crowned Miss South Africa, and on 9 August, she hands over her title to her successor.
Reflecting on the past few months, Tamaryn says the experience has been life-changing. "I'm definitely not the same woman that I was a year ago. I've grown wiser, I'm more confident in myself, I'm confident in how I approach other people," she tells us this as we sit down to chat at the Miss SA top 16 announcement lunch in Johannesburg on Thursday.
The beauty queen joined Bonang on stage on the day, helping her to introduce the audience to the ladies who will be competing for the crown in 2019.
Our conversation turns to the diversity of the finalists – which includes a plus size model and an openly queer contestant. Tamaryn believes these ladies are a true reflection of the women of South Africa.
"I'm looking at this group, and I see South Africa. I think that was the most important thing. From the beginning, it should have always been finding the best representation for South Africa. And it's not easy, cause we're so diverse, we have so many religions, cultures and races. So I'm really excited to see what's going to happen with this top 16. And they're all gorgeous."
Now that her reign is coming to an end, it will be back to normal for Tamaryn. But what is "normal" for this 24-year-old?
"My reign ends, and then I'm sitting behind the books," she says, referring to her medical studies.
"I've been back now for three months, it's been tough balancing both, but I'm so excited to graduate. I think that's my number one priority after Miss SA – graduating, becoming a doctor and then see where I go from there."
Besides the all-important business of completing her studies, there's one more thing that Tamaryn is looking forward to doing after passing on that sash.
"I'd just like free time to watch series. I love Friends; I'll probably watch it over and over."
The Miss South Africa pageant takes place on 9 August at the Sun Arena in Pretoria. The show will be broadcast live on M-Net (DStv 101) and Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).