Bright & beautiful
While we often hear about beauty pageants being about more than just pretty girls modelling on a ramp, we don’t always know what goes on behind the scenes in the build up to the crowning evening.
This year’s Miss Ballito winner, Milan Dhaniram says, more than anything, her journey throughout the pageant showed her the importance of her role in society. “I now know that I will always stand up for those who don’t have a voice and those who are underprivileged, disabled and impoverished.”
The Miss Ballito pageant (driven by the Zimbali Rotary Club) runs over a period of three months and starts with an interview round with the judges. Pageant coordinator Heidie Smith says it is important that the finalists are clear on their goals and focus for the pageant.
There are three important days/events in the build up to the final evening. “We start with a motivational day for the girls, where we get a life coach, and other inspirational speakers, to chat to them. These people are always willing to help the girls afterwards if they need it as well,” says Heidie. The girls then have to raise funds for charities of their choice through sponsors, which they have to source. There is a cocktail evening where each contestant is given the opportunity to ‘show off’ their sponsor. They are also expected to put together three projects that allow them to give back to their community. “These range from random acts of kindness to sustainable community development projects like vegetable garden growing.”
Milan is currently in her final undergraduate year majoring in Psychology and International Relations and hopes to specialise in clinical and developmental psychology during her masters, to help children with special needs.
Her younger brother has autism, which Milan says inspired her to start a support group for siblings of children with autism as one of her community projects. She also established a vocational food garden at the Imbalito Hope College and a food garden at the Shakaskraal clinic. “During my year of reign, I hope to further the growth of my projects and add new projects for different socio-economic issues.”
Milan says the Miss Ballito journey has also helped her realise she can achieve whatever she sets her mind to. “The stringent selection process and strict judging criteria also helped me become more resilient and showed me I can work well under pressure – an important skill for my future.”
Asked how she thinks North Coasters can help give back to their community, Milan says, “I would encourage people to work with charities through the Zimbali Rotary Club or follow me on Facebook and join me on my mission to make a visible change. Choose a charity that is closest to your heart and let your God-given talent direct your cause.”
Details: Contact Milan to help with her projects: email@example.com / Facebook: Milan Dhaniram Miss Ballito 2018-2019.
Text: Leah Shone | Photograph: Gavin Higgins Photography
Get It Magazine (Ballito/Umhlanga) – November 2018