While pageants have previously perceived to be a female-dominated industry, men have steadily joined in over the years.
Model and aspiring actor Craig Ramnarian (22) from Verulam said he and his fellow participants have not experienced any stigma in regards to these events. “I’ve been blessed to be with my fellow participants and we’re one big happy family. We supported each other and uplifted others around us,” he said.
Ramnarian has been competing in pageants for the past four years, and is currently a finalist in the Mr KwaZulu-Natal competition, held by the NPO, Role Models foundation.
Ramnarian’s motivation to participate in pageants extends much further than his interest in walking the ramp. He said he wants to help his community, which he believes can be achieved through gaining a substantial platform.
In the years Ramnarian has been following pageants, he noted that community work and philanthropy played a big role pageantry process.
“As we’re selected it’s our duty is to use the platform, reign and our voices to create awareness on topics close to one’s heart and to make a difference. We finalists are tasked to assist in raising sponsorships for charity. To make a difference so that together we as a community can achieve a common goal and that is to bridge the gap of the hungry and the homeless,” he said.
Wynette Murray, a frequent pageant participant from Amanzimtoti said that her son Waylon (12), has been participating in pageants for the past three years. Both Murrays have racked up at least three titles each, in events that extend from local to provincial competitions.
Wynett says that Waylon was inspired to participate to boost his confidence and social skills as well as give back to his community.
“Because he has been moulded as a role model, young people at his age especially, start looking up to him and become motivated to also participate. In an event where there would be any negativity, he would manage to handle the situation and make negative people look at him positively,” she said.
Wynett said pageants have come a long way from the past, as they used to be about looks and glamour. “Charity and community work has played a big role in boosting confidence and improving intelligence,” she said.