South African Roots
Becoming an Entrepreneur
My dream of becoming an entrepreneur
The entrepreneurial spirit has always been in my blood, as many of my family members own their own businesses. Starting as a child, you could often find me selling cupcakes or even toilet paper at my boarding house! I decided to make it official by embarking on a new adventure at North-West University in Potchefstroom by pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurial studies. Now, with the passion fueled in me from childhood and a degree in the field, I’m living out my dream of becoming an Entrepreneur with several businesses launching this year!
Miss South Africa
Many little girls grow up dreaming about Disney Princesses with beautiful ball gowns, and I was definitely one of those starry-eyed girls. Although I’ve always held the previous Miss South Africa title-holders in high esteem due to the way they utilized their platform to make a difference, I wouldn’t say I was a stereotypical pageant girl. My first pageant encounter was when friends played a prank on me by signing me up for our school pageant.
From the first day of entering the Miss South Africa pageant, I took the fact that I could be representing my country on an international stage very seriously. I soon learned that the Miss South Africa platform was so much more than the perception that it’s just about beauty. The Miss South Africa platform is so much more about being an ambassador for our country, and representing the rich culture and unique aspects of what our country has to offer.
I always knew I wanted to be a Miss South Africa type of woman; one who represents her country by leading with passion and purpose. I wanted to be someone my fellow South Africans could be proud of. I was given the position to speak out about serious issues South Africans face daily. I wanted to have a “reign” of significance through developing my Philanthropic Projects. After surviving a horrific attempted hijacking in South Africa, I started the Unbreakable Campaign, which aims to educate, uplift and empower women all over the world on how to prevent and manage dangerous situations. I realized my mission was then, and still is, to make a difference in the lives of the people in my community, country and ultimately the world.
Being Miss Universe was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. I am so thankful to have been a part of something bigger than myself. Traveling all over the world opened my eyes to so many things, especially the need for every individual to be heard, loved and valued.
The journey started with traveling to the U.S. with three suitcases, my South African flag, and a dream of becoming the first South African Miss Universe in 39 years. Being Miss Universe was not just a personal victory, I hoped it would inspire every South African boy or girl to pursue their dreams too.
Miss Universe extended the platform to grow my #Unbreakable Campaign on the international stage. South Africa has one of the highest percentages of gender-based violence in the world. I started this initiative to focus on equipping vulnerable women to seek help and empower them with the skills and knowledge to prevent unwanted violence. The #Unbreakable campaign grew into a global community of hope and support for women around the world.
The City That Never Sleeps
My big move to the United States
Competing for Miss Universe in Las Vegas was my first time to step foot on American soil. The night I won, I immediately boarded a flight and moved to New York City, which was a requirement of Miss Universe for one year during my “reign.” I was in awe of its magnificence. I started out with my three bags packed of pageant clothes (with no snow boots I might add), and began to soak up all that the “city that never sleeps” had to offer.
I often wandered the streets and got lost in the sight of all of the skyscrapers. During my stay, I had a few “firsts” including experiencing Christmas in New York (with my newly purchased snow boots). As a self-proclaimed foodie, I also had a bite of my first, real New York cheesecake, and made it a habit of indulging in my favorite salted caramel cheesecake from Magnolia’s more than I’d like to admit. I also experienced my first run in Central Park, and for some reason broke out into hives (if you’ve seen “Hitch” you know what I’m talking about!) My time in New York City will always be a great adventure I look back on with fondness.
How we met, fell in love and became one
Moving to America was the beginning of many new things for me. It helped me fulfill my dream of serving people on a global platform, was the start of many new friendships, and led me to the love of my life!
In 2018, I was the reigning Miss Universe living in New York. I spoke about my sister, Franje, who was born with special needs, often in interviews and speaking engagements. One day this guy reached out to invite my sister to the first Night to Shine in South Africa. This is an annual event put on by the Tim Tebow Foundation, an unforgettable worldwide prom night for people 14 years and older with special needs. Due to my sister’s weakened immune system, she was unable to attend the event, but it led to me meeting my husband, Tim, and that started the rest of our lives together. I really got to know Tim as the “Night to Shine Guy”, and I think that’s one of the reasons I fell in love with him. He stood for something so much bigger than himself, and part of his purpose in life is to fight for people that cannot fight for themselves. Franje has since found her home in heaven, but I will always be thankful to my little sister for being the ultimate matchmaker and bringing us together. I’m honored to live a life with Tim as my partner, where we both share the same purpose of loving God and others while fighting together for those who cannot fight for themselves
My next chapter
Stay tuned to my website or sign up for my newsletter to keep in touch. Soon, I will share my entrepreneurial journey with my friends. Until then, I am preparing to launch a few new businesses this summer!
Click here to sign up for my newsletter.