The search for Miss South Africa 2020 is on.
With applications now open and campaigns underway, the annual pageant is taking a new shape online in the amid uncertainty from the Covid-19 pandemic and a national lockdown.
According to Stephanie Weil, chief executive of the Miss South Africa Organisation, the decision to go digital was spurred by a positive past experience.
“We made the decision in 2019 to put the entry process online to make it as easy as possible for would-be contestants, as there were no forms to download and no regional auditions to which hopefuls had to travel,” Weil explained.
“This allowed us to reach as many young women throughout South Africa as possible and give candidates from any region of the country the opportunity to take part. It was hugely successful, with quality candidates and we received a record number of entries.”
Applications for the pageant opened on Monday and will close on May 31. Applicants must complete an online form and submit photographs of themselves. Applicants must also post a short introductory video on their social media channels and provide a link on their application.
A judging panel will then go through the entries and narrow the list down to semi-finalists. Unlike previous years where the semi-finalists travelled to Johannesburg for the judging sessions, this year the session will be conducted online.
“By doing a lot of meet and greets online Miss South Africa will be able to reach – and inspire – even more young women across the country,” Weil said. “Our main goal is to make Miss South Africa attainable and through online interaction this will make it easier rather than harder. I think this year people will be engaging with and listening to the young woman who eventually holds the title of Miss South Africa 2020 more than ever.”
In addition, Weil announced announced that the company would be launching the Miss South Africa Foundation, with details on the new venture to be made public closer to the pageant in August.
Weil’s company Weil Entertainment acquired the Miss SA license from Sun International in 2019. Despite staying involved as a sponsor with the event traditionally held at Sun City, there are still questions regarding a physical event being held this year. Said Sun International in a statement: “As an associate sponsor of the Miss South Africa Pageant, Sun International continues to work with pageant owner Weil Entertainment. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements, we are considering several possible scenarios for hosting the final event in August. We can assure South Africans that the 2020 contest will still be relevant, inclusive and exciting to watch.”
South Africa is a global player in the world of beauty pageants. The reigning Miss Universe title holder, Zozibini Tunzi, was crowned Miss South Africa in 2019, while Miss South Africa 2017, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, went on to be crowned Miss Universe the same year, the first South African to take the title since Margaret Gardiner in 1978.
In January, it was announced that Sasha-Lee Olivier, first runner up in Miss South Africa 2019, had been passed the title by Tunzi following Tunzi’s crowning as Miss Universe in December last year.
On Tuesday, Olivier made an appearance with Gauteng Health Department officials at the Sebokeng Zone 17 clinic to celebrate International Nurses Day. Olivier’s campaign, called #itsnotyourfault, is aimed at raising awareness for victims of sexual assault. “Miss South Africa is constantly changing to remain relevant in today’s world,” Weil said.
“No longer is Miss South Africa just a once-off event but rather a year-round business, and a brand that provides both a leading voice for women’s rights and a platform to effect social change. We are committed to helping entrants fulfil their inherent potential rather than merely glossing up their external façade.”