Hard work, hard times – Miss SA’s winning recipe
Liesl Laurie takes on world
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.