Earlier this month, Van Heerden was placed in the Top 10 at the Miss World pageant where she competed as Miss World South Africa. This was a first for South Africa where a princess was placed in the final 10. She was also announced winner of Beauty with a Purpose along with four other contestants.
Says Van Heerden, a 26-year-old medical doctor and lieutenant at 2 Military Hospital in Cape Town: “Having only three weeks to prepare for Miss World and placing in the Top 10 as well as winning the Beauty with a Purpose project were achievements beyond my wildest dreams. But what I will carry with me forever is the immense pride I felt in being able to represent South Africa. I am delighted that I will be able to continue doing so as Miss South Africa.”
She said she was overjoyed when Demi was crowned Miss Universe: “Demi has worked to make her dream a reality and I am elated to celebrate this victory with her.
“I know that I have big shoes to fill but am thrilled and humbled to wear the Miss South Africa crown. Previous Miss South Africas have already welcomed me into the sisterhood with open arms, and I realise that I now have the responsibility of continuing the Miss South Africa legacy. A legacy that leads women of all cultures, spreads love and unite South Africans.”
During her Miss South Africa reign, Van Heerden would like to continue to focus on mental health issues, particularly amongst young women.
“I would like to concentrate on a range of mental health issues – from depression and eating disorders to anxiety and how to build confidence. One of the side effects of social media platforms is that girls have become incredibly critical of themselves and they often feel unworthy. I would like to use social media as a platform to address this.”
Asked what she wanted to bring to the role as Miss South Africa, Van Heerden said: “The role of Miss South Africa is ever evolving and women in our generation are stepping into important leadership positions on all fronts. I believe that I am representative of the ‘new and upcoming’ generation of women in our country.
We are smart, assertive and informed, but also empathetic and caring. This reflects in my calling as a doctor in the military – I’m not afraid to stand my ground on a physical or emotional level. I hope to lead as dynamically and as open mindedly as I live my life.”
She also alluded to the fact that she would like to start a monthly Miss South Africa breakfast club.
From New York the new Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters sent the new Miss South Africa her congratulations: “You have demonstrated on the Miss World stage what you are capable of and I know you are going to make all South Africans proud. Welcome to the Miss South Africa club! I wish you everything of the best.”
It is a sentiment echoed by Sun International’s PR Manager Claudia Henkel: “I know that Adè will continue the reign with the same commitment, poise and grace and make a meaningful contribution to the lives of many young South Africans.”
Says Cell C’s Executive Commercial Communication, Suzette van der Merwe: “Miss South Africa annually delivers a representative that elevates national pride, inspires and delights. Adè is an intelligent, self-assured woman and I know she will give 100% to her commitments and causes.”
Boipelo Mabe, who was crowned second princess at Sun City earlier this year, will now take over the position as first princess.
The new Miss South Africa 2018 will be crowned in May next year, providing Van Heerden with a six-month reign. The Miss South Africa Pageant is a proud collaboration between Sun International and Cell C.
Q&A WITH ADÈ VAN HEERDEN
Name: Adè van Heerden
Age: 26 years
Occupation: Medical doctor and second lieutenant in the South African Military Health Services.
Previous beauty pageants entered and placed in:
Miss Mamelodi Sundowns 2015 (second princess).
What can you bring as Miss South Africa?
Every day we are presented with multiple opportunities that shape our lives and the lives of those around us. Being Miss South Africa is an opportunity to enrich my own life and simultaneously contribute to the growth and success of our rainbow nation. It is an honour to be entrusted with this title.
I believe that I am representative of the “new and upcoming” generation of women in our country. We are smart, assertive and informed but also empathetic and caring. This reflects in my calling as a doctor in the military – I’m not afraid to stand my ground on a physical or emotional level. I hope to lead as dynamically and as open mindedly as I live my life.
What qualities do you believe a Miss South Africa should possess?
The role of Miss South Africa is ever evolving and women in our generation are stepping into important leadership positions on all fronts. Miss South Africa must be able to engage with children on their level and also have the ability to address important issues such as HIV, poverty and mental health.
She must be well-groomed but natural. She should carry a regal presence that introduces her even before she speaks. Kindness and honesty must be a core value. She must be calm and level-headed when confronted with adversity.
Who are your role models/who has inspired you and why?
I don’t have one specific role model. All my life I have read about, personally met or seen people who have impacted on my spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing.
I therefore believe that every person we meet has the potential to inspire us and teach us in order to grow as a person.
Tell us a bit about your family:
My father Andre is a consultant in the health and safety industry. My mother Ana is a creative writer. I have an older sister Pauli who is a medical doctor at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital while my younger sister is Emma is a specialist consultant in the renewable energy industry.
Who would you like to meet now you are Miss South Africa?
Elon Musk. This South African born mega-entrepreneur overcame many obstacles to ultimately create a business that knows no limits. I am inspired by his ability to create solutions to problems that seem insolvable.
What is your message to young girls and young woman in South Africa?
The momentum of women is undeniable, but we sometimes lack confidence, despite being talented and qualified for leadership. We do not need empowerment; we are powerful beyond measure. We only need to believe in our unequivocal abilities and be confident that we can lead and transform this country.
We are emotional and loving by nature. We should embrace it and use it to bring something inspiring, fresh and unique to the table. We also shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. We don’t have to be perfect – what does that mean anyway? You have to love yourself and if you aren’t confident or are feeling down, look for the help and support of people who can help change your mindset.
What are your hobbies/what do you do in your spare time?
Junior doctors work long hours and shifts can be up to 30 hours. With that being said, I try using my spare time to do things that are “soul soothing” – the first of which is exercise. This I balance between boxing, the gym and outdoor activities such as hiking. My hobby is baking. I bake anything from extravagant cakes with an element of surprise to just simple brownies with which to spoil my sisters or work colleagues.
What is your favourite meal?
I love a well-balanced breakfast. Scrambled eggs with some avocado on rye toast and a side of fresh fruit.
What music are you listening to?
Mostly the songs topping the charts at the moment on iTunes – anything to add some good energy to the atmosphere.
What is one thing people will be surprised to find out about you?
I received my Protea colours in rhythmic gymnastics at the age of 13 and was gold medal winner at the All African Championships.
For more information and updates, visit:
- Website: http://www.misssa.co.za/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MsSouthAfrica/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Official_MissSA/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheMissSAPageant
I had the honour of attending the crowning event of the New Miss South Africa, which took place at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton this week and I recorded the speech by the lovely Adè van Heerden which you can watch here: