Media releases


Friday, 17 March 2017

The judging panel for the Miss South Africa Pageant 2017 has been announced with the appointment of Maps Maponyane, Unathi Msengana, Cameron van der Burgh, Bridget Masinga, Gisele Wertheim Aymes, Ezra Davids and former Miss South Africa Claudia Henkel.

The new Miss South Africa 2017 will be crowned at Sun City on Sunday, March 26, with the pageant broadcast live on Mzansi Magic (Channel 161) and M-Net (Channel 101) at 17h00.

Regarded as leaders and trendsetters in their respective fields, they will be judging the Top 12 contestants on an array of criteria including their leadership qualities, communication skills, beauty and talent, physical fitness and a dedication to community service.

Maps Maponyane is considered one of SA’s most stylish and sexiest men, and is a much-admired media personality. Multi-talented as a TV presenter, model, actor, style icon, designer, businessman and philanthropist, he makes waves both locally and internationally.

He believes he has a lot to offer as a judge: “Having been in front of the camera for eight years, I feel that I know exactly what to look for in identifying that special factor and confidence in a future Miss South Africa. Other than that, I’m more focused on how a Miss South Africa communicates current issues and debates. I’ll be looking for confidence, authenticity, the ability to articulate one’s thoughts and ideas, someone who is comfortable in their skin, and a natural doer, as opposed to someone that may sit and wait hoping for things to happen for them.”

Singer, actress and radio personality Unathi Msengana is best known for hosting shows on YFM and Metro FM as well as being an Idols SA judge. For Msengana it is the second time on the judging panel, having been a judge in 2008.

"As a people we are naturally beautiful inside and out. I will be looking for someone who I think South Africa can relate to, someone who South Africa can feel is there to be a great ambassador for the country,” she says.

Her number one piece of advice that she would give to a finalist: “Trust yourself.”

Swimmer Cameron van der Burgh is Africa's first home-trained world record holder and individual male Olympic champion. He believes that being a professional athlete brings something to the judging panel.

“I’ve had the privilege to travel the world and experience different cultures, meet many amazing people and see how people perceive South Africa from afar. I believe this will help me in choosing the new Miss South Africa that would best represent our country to our people and the world.”

He will be looking for a well-rounded and balanced person to represent South Africa. His advice to the Top 12: “Be yourself! Being authentic and honest is the most important trait in a person to me.”

As one of the founding presenters on the hugely successful television magazine show All Access, Bridget Masinga has cemented her brand as one of South Africa’s leading entertainers. She is the presenter and producer of Jacaranda FM’s weekday mid-morning show, The Workzone with Bridget Masinga.

“Not only have I been blessed to walk this path as a Miss South Africa runner-up in 2002 but, through my extensive 15 year career in television and radio broadcasting, I have been privileged to understand the intimate and external workings of media spaces, branding and the expectations that are often placed on personality brands. This enables me to not only be empathetic to the ladies' journey but to fully comprehend the varying personality traits and professional criteria that are required to make for a great Miss South Africa,” she explains.

What will she be looking for in a potential Miss South Africa? “I maintain that Miss South Africa in 2017 has to be a representative of her generation, she needs to remain true to their struggles and their current generational experience. An intellectually smart, yet street savvy and charismatic young lady firmly grounded in who she is. Authenticity and relatability are also a key concern for me.”

Gisèle Wertheim Aymes is the owner of the Longevity publishing franchise in South Africa as well as ELLE & ELLE Decoration: “I've worked in media for more than two decades across a broad spectrum of interest groups, but mostly in fashion, beauty and health. Working predominantly with women and communicating women’s issues, has given me a solid, grounded perspective and empathy for the pressures and challenges women face in today’s world.

“Our Miss South Africa should represent values women today can relate and aspire to. A wholeness. How she values not just herself, but those around her. How she has lived this. And importantly her resilience and empathy.”

Ezra Davids is a corporate lawyer and is the chairman of corporate/mergers and acquisitions at the leading Pan African law firm, Bowmans: “As an outsider, I should be able to bring a different perspective from my fellow judges, which should make for a much richer decision making process. I will be looking for a world class ambassador for South Africa and a role model for young women in the country. My advice? Be yourself and embrace your identity.”

Claudia Henkel took the Miss South Africa crown in 2004 and represented her country at Miss Universe making it into the Top 15. After her reign she went straight into the business world while also modelling locally and internationally. As group PR manager for Sun International, she is a spokesperson for the Miss South Africa organisation.

Henkel explains what she will be looking for in the contestant who will graciously wear the 2017 Miss South Africa crown: "All the girls are beautiful so for me to pick the winner I’m looking for a girl who exudes confidence, to be completely comfortable with who she is and who has a clear vision of where she is going. She must possess an undeniable presence when she enters the room and command the attention of others and she must be able to represent South Africa on an international stage like Miss World and Miss Universe. This year I am looking for that girl who has the 'It factor!'"

Her advice to all finalists: " You have to be confident and put your absolute best foot forward. If you don’t believe in yourself, then no one is going to believe in you. This is a once-in-a–lifetime opportunity , grab it with everything you got."

The Miss South Africa Pageant is a proud collaboration between Sun International and Cell C. Miss South Africa 2017 will be crowned at Sun City on March 26 and simulcast live on Mzansi Magic (Channel 161) and M-Net (Channel 101).

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