Child­hood dream could be­come re­al­ity

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KARISHMA DIPA

WHAT started off as a child­hood dream could be a re­al­ity for a lo­cal beauty pageant hope­ful.

Zeenath De­sai has al­ready made it to the top 25 of the Mrs Africa fi­nal­ists and be­lieves she has what it takes to be crowned the ul­ti­mate win­ner.

“I am com­mit­ted with my whole heart,” she said.

The mother of two young boys told The Star that her love for pageants be­gan when she was just a child.

“I re­mem­ber be­ing a young girl and watch­ing the Miss South Africa pageants, I must have been 12 years old.

“It was a huge thing in our house­hold, we’d all sit around the TV to watch it and I think from a young age it has al­ways been em­bed­ded in me.”

Now at 40, De­sai de­cided to take the plunge ear­lier this year and en­ter the com­pe­ti­tion.

She made it through sev­eral elim­i­na­tion rounds and as the fi­nale ap­proaches, she is pre­par­ing for the ul­ti­mate show­down.

The se­nior sales ex­ec­u­tive for an in­sur­ance com­pany ad­mits that she was hes­i­tant to en­ter but her loved ones en­cour­aged her to fol­low her dreams.

“I never re­ally wanted to put my­self out there, but with the love, sup­port and en­cour­age­ment that came from my fam­ily and friends I even­tu­ally de­cided to put my­self out there.”

It is this sup­port­ive foun­da­tion that has kept De­sai’s head in the game.

“My fam­ily and friends have been my rock, they have been there for me ev­ery step of the way.”

The pageant hope­ful be­lieves she would be a Mrs Africa who makes the coun­try at large proud.

If she is crowned win­ner, she said, she very much wants to make a dif­fer­ence to other women.

“I want to be a woman who in­spires other women to see that it doesn’t mat­ter what chal­lenges you face in life, you can over­come.”

She be­lieves she can make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of other peo­ple by work­ing closely with char­i­ta­ble ini­tia­tives.

“I just want to give of my­self to help­ing oth­ers, lov­ing oth­ers and mak­ing a small im­pact in their lives.

“If you give of your­self, you can make a dif­fer­ence and im­pact on some­one’s life.”

Some of the char­i­ties that she is in­volved with in­clude Dig­nity Dreams Desk Bags, which pro­vides san­i­tary pads to girls in need, as well as the Rand Epilep­tic Em­ploy­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, which is a non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that pro­vides care for peo­ple suf­fer­ing from epilepsy and neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­ders.

De­sai is also pas­sion­ate about work­ing with the Soul Food or­gan­i­sa­tion which pro­vides 2.1 mil­lion meals a year to those in un­der­priv­i­leged schools, hos­tels, hospi­tals and shel­ters.

Over­all, she wants to be Mrs Africa to spread love to all she comes across.

“I believe what­ever I do in life, the se­cret is to love.”

The fi­nal round of the Mrs Africa pageant is due to take place in Oc­to­ber.

LOVE IS THE SE­CRET: Mrs Africa con­tender Zeenath De­sai wants to make a dif­fer­ence.

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