Casually gliding towards our meeting area with her hand bag in one arm and her lab coat in the other, Shané Naidoo’s black hair bounces with ease as the afternoon wind blows it gently.
From the day she was announced as one of the 12 Miss SA finalists, Naidoo admits that although she has always maintained a cover girl look, she has had to change every so often.
Maintaining a Miss SA look
“My sense of style has changed quite a bit. I was always well dressed and I took care of myself but I have my mom and sister to thank for this otherwise I’d be so derailed”, she explains.
Naidoo who is doing her third and fourth year in Industrial Engineering described herself as a typical girl who lives a normal life as a Wits student.
“I know that sometimes it’s exhausting to wake up every morning, do your hair and put on a bit of make-up but I like doing it although not everyone who studies engineering does that”, added Naidoo.
First pageant ever
Her poised posture doesn’t give away her claim that she is a pageant rookie. She explains that unlike her sister who has done it a couple of times, she has never thought of being a pageant girl.
“I just had to give it a shot because I like what the pageant stands for”, explains Naidoo as she gently brushes her hair away from her dolled up face.
“To be perfectly honest I didn’t think that I’d make it this far since it’s my first pageant. I thought it’d be my trial run, get a feel of things and come back next year or the year after but I surprisingly made it through.”
The 22 year old from Farrarmere in Benoni was among some serious competition.
“You’re suddenly with this group of 23 beautiful women and you are all buying for the same job position essentially and it’s a big deal.”
“I came in very confident. I was so excited initially I was like Oh my gosh! And (then) my confidence dropped very quickly. It’s intimidating. It’s something I’ve never done, I felt like I was thrown into the deep end.”
Why Miss SA?
“Entering Miss South Africa means fulfilling a lifelong dream and embarking on a journey of self-discovery. I aim to combine my personal goals and strengths with those of the Miss South Africa organisation to make a positive social impact in our society by means of engaging with our people and emphasizing their strengths.”
“I want to be a role model to young women across the country and an ambassador for women’s empowerment.” added Naidoo.
Managing school work and Miss SA has not been an easy task for the young student. She’s had to try and find a balance between labs and workshops required by the pageant.
‘I don’t want to be forgotten’
Sharing some of her fears in the competition, Naidoo is more fearful of “going through all this process and not being relevant at the end.”
“I still want to take away as much from the process and still use this platform even if I’m just a finalist to build a brand for myself in this competition. I don’t just want to be forgotten the next day. But it is hard work trying to stay relevant.”
When she is not thinking about women empowerment within the industrial engineering environment, Naidoo enjoys breaking a sweat and hitting the road or going to the gym.
She admits that one of her biggest challenges is eating healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“I’ve been eating more surprisingly. As Miss South Africa you need to maintain a certain image so it’s about finding the balance. I’ve taken shakes, eating carbs and pasta and bread and all of the good things but I’m still training and finding a balance. It’s hard I have to say because I have a sweet tooth.”