Hard work, hard times – Miss SA’s win­ning recipe

Liesl Laurie takes on world

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE - SAMEER NAIK

SHE may have the world at her feet as Miss South Africa, but Liesl Laurie, 23, also knows about putting dreams on hold and the pres­sure of fi­nan­cial wor­ries.

As she left on her first over­seas trip, to rep­re­sent South Africa in the Miss World com­pe­ti­tion in China, she said she had nearly given up on her dream of be­com­ing an ac­coun­tant be­cause she couldn’t af­ford the fees.

“It was a hard time in my life. While I was ea­ger to pur­sue my dreams of study­ing for a BCom, I knew my fam­ily couldn’t af­ford to send me to study.”

In­stead of giv­ing up her dream, Laurie took up mod­el­ling to help pay for stud­ies.

“I de­cided that noth­ing was go­ing to stand in the way of my stud­ies so I be­gan mod­el­ling. For the first two years of my stud­ies I had a neg­a­tive bal­ance and owed a lot of money, but even­tu­ally my mod­el­ling ca­reer took off and I was able to pay off my loans.”

Just as noth­ing could stand in the way of her grad­u­at­ing in 2013, Laurie says noth­ing can stop her from achiev­ing her dream of be­ing crowned Miss World next month.

Laurie is from El­do­rado Park in Joburg, left on Thurs­day to com­pete in the 65th Miss World com­pe­ti­tion at the Crown of Beauty The­atre in Sanya, China, on De­cem­ber 19. She said she had been hard at work pre­par­ing for the in­ter­na­tional stage that awaits her.

“The past seven months have been all about prep work – even if it was just buy­ing small things I knew would look great with my Miss World out­fits or read­ing ma­te­rial I be­lieve will help me pre­pare for the com­pe­ti­tion.

“I spent six months do­ing com­mu­nity work and giv­ing back to my coun­try and for the past month I have fo­cused my at­ten­tion on train­ing, read­ing, eating and get­ting some good rest be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion.”

Laurie is un­der no il­lu­sion the Miss World pageant will be a stroll in the park. She ex­pects a gru­elling three weeks in China. Con­tes­tants will be judged on a range of as­pects such as mod­el­ling, ta­lent, mul­ti­me­dia, sports, fit­ness and beauty with a pur­pose.

Laurie has also been spend­ing time with reign­ing Miss World Ro­lene Strauss, who has been giv­ing her ad­vice on what to ex­pect at the pageant.

“I was with (Ro­lene) on Satur­day and she said the Miss World com­pe­ti­tion was dif­fer­ent from other com­pe­ti­tions, in the sense that it was like a sis­ter­hood, where the girls be­came friends, helped each other, were ma­ture and worked to­gether. It’s about unity rather than each woman for her­self.”

Laurie will be rep­re­sent­ing South Africa against en­trants from 123 coun­tries and will be watched by one bil­lion peo­ple. She be­lieves she has what it takes to keep the Miss World crown in South Africa.

“I be­lieve there is a great chance of that hap­pen­ing. I’m go­ing to Miss World with the same at­ti­tude that I had with Miss SA. If it is for me it will be for me.”

Laurie will wear gowns cre­ated by Bloem­fontein de­signer Casper Bos­man, who also de­signed some of the out­fits Strauss wore last year.

She be­lieves Miss World stands for what hu­man­ity should strive for. “It’s about giv­ing back, about work­ing to­gether, about look­ing af­ter your world, not just your coun­try, com­mu­nity and fel­low man.”

WORLD CON­TENDERS: Miss South Africa Liesl Laurie, right, and her First Princess Re­filwe Mthimunye share a laugh out­side The Maslow Ho­tel in Sand­ton. The pair will be com­pet­ing in the Miss World and Miss Uni­verse pageants next month.

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