In the world of beauty pageants, South Africa has consistently shone brightly on the international stage, and the 72nd Miss Universe Competition promises to be no different.
- Bryoni Govender, who recently emerged as the first runner-up at the Miss South Africa 2023 finale, is set to represent South Africa in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant.
- The 72nd Miss Universe pageant is slated to take place in El Salvador on 18 November 2023.
- This event carries special significance as it marks the return of Miss Universe to El Salvador after nearly five decades, with the last edition held in the Central American nation in 1975.
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Bryoni Govender’s journey to the Miss Universe stage is not only a personal triumph but also a momentous occasion for South Africa. She will become the first person of Indian heritage to represent the nation since Kerishnie Naiker, who was placed in the Top 10 at the Miss Universe pageant in 1998. For Bryoni, being different is her superpower, and she is ready to shine on the global stage.
I have always believed that being different is a superpower, and becoming the second South African of Indian descent to represent our beautiful country on the international stage is a testament to that fact.
// Miss Universe South Africa, Bryoni Govender
Bryoni’s passion for women’s empowerment and gender equality is deeply ingrained in her. She has already embarked on extensive preparations for the Miss Universe competition, where she hopes to make her country proud. Beyond the glitz and glamour of the pageant, her advocacy takes center stage. She aims to address and bridge the gaps in women’s progress by introducing mentorship programs that focus on business and leadership courses, entrepreneurial and job training initiatives, and skills development programs for girls and women, spanning from secondary to post-tertiary education levels.
With a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Johannesburg and her admission as an attorney, Bryoni brings an impressive academic background to her role as Miss Universe South Africa. Her story reflects the spirit of determination and resilience that South Africans are known for, demonstrating that one can achieve both in academia and on the global stage.
The 2023 Miss Universe pageant also brings a series of firsts and historical moments. Rikkie Kollé of The Netherlands will be the second transgender woman to compete, following in the footsteps of Ángela Ponce of Spain in 2018. Moreover, Camila Avella of Colombia and Michelle Cohn of Guatemala break barriers as the first married women and mothers to compete in the competition. This significant milestone was made possible after the Miss Universe Organization lifted the rule that previously disqualified mothers from participating.
The list of contestants for the 2023 Miss Universe pageant also includes some exciting additions. Pakistan makes its debut appearance, while Bangladesh, Denmark, Egypt, Guyana, Hungary, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Norway, and Zimbabwe return to the competition. Zimbabwe, in particular, is making a comeback after a 22-year absence, with its last participation dating back to 2001.
South Africa’s rich legacy in the world of beauty pageants cannot be overstated. The country has consistently produced remarkable contestants who have made their mark on the global stage. Recent years have seen a string of impressive achievements at the Miss Universe pageant:
- In 2017, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was crowned Miss Universe, bringing the coveted title back to South Africa.
- The following year, Tamaryn Green secured the first runner-up position, further solidifying South Africa’s presence on the international pageant circuit.
- In 2019, Zozibini Tunzi became the third South African to be crowned Miss Universe, an inspiring moment that showcased the nation’s commitment to celebrating diversity and advocating for women’s rights.
- In 2021, Lalela Mswane continued the trend of success by securing the second runner-up position, demonstrating South Africa’s consistent excellence in beauty pageants.
As Bryoni Govender prepares to embark on her Miss Universe journey, she carries the hopes and dreams of a nation that has a rich tradition of excellence in beauty pageants. Her dedication to women’s empowerment and her determination to make a difference will undoubtedly resonate on the global stage.
South Africa eagerly awaits the chance to once again shine in the international spotlight and bring the Miss Universe crown back to its deserving home.
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