Reigning Miss South Africa Ntandoyenkosi Kunene revealed some of her pageant costumes today as she prepares to compete in the Miss World competition in the US in December.
Kunene, the 24-year-old Mpumalanga beauty, will be representing South Africa against 119 other countries in the competition which is watched by more than one-billion people worldwide.
Starting at the end of November, the 66th edition of Miss World will put the contestants through a series of challenges and interviews to determine who will win the coveted title of Miss World 2016, and become the ambassador of “Beauty with a Purpose”. Miss World 2016 will be held on December 18, 2016 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Centre, National Harbour, Washington, D.C with the current Miss World, Mireia Lalaguna of Spain, crowning her successor at the end of the event. This will be the second time that the United States will host the pageant.
Kunene is looking forward to the pageant: “I have learned valuable lessons thanks to the wonderful opportunities being Miss South Africa 2016 has afforded me. Growing up it was always my dream to be crowned Miss South Africa and I am thrilled now to be able to represent this country on the international stage. I will do my best make the Rainbow Nation proud.”
Johannesburg based designer JJ Schoeman is responsible for the design of Kunene’s wardrobe in the build-up to the event as well as for the pageant itself. These include the main competition dress; a Dances of the World dress; an interview suit; a Designers of the World dress; an auction night outfit and other clothing that she will wear in the build-up to the main event.
Schoeman describes the main competition dress: “It is an Afrocentric design – a fitted long ball gown in dark champagne with vertical hand beaded panels in mother of pearl. The Dances costume is designed with the African sunrise in mind and is very flowy. The interview suit is a very dramatic – an off the shoulder, fitted jacket in old rose pink with matching pencil skirt. The Designer dress is made of heavy embroidered and sequined lace with a tiered skirt detail and a plunging neckline in peacock blue.”
He explains what will make them stand out: “They are Afrocentric – European influences mixed with Africa is a strong signature. The colours are bold and the main dress will reflect well under the stage lighting. The dresses are made to measure and fit Ntando like a glove.”
Schoeman believes that his experience judging international beauty pageants will give Kunene the edge when it comes to her costumes: “I have judged many competitions, including the Miss World pageant in 2009, so I have an insight into what is needed to make a contestant stand out. When I design for a beauty pageant, lighting and fabric is most important as well as the cut of the neckline.”
Should she not place in the Top 5 at Miss World, Kunene will also represent South Africa at the 2016 Miss Universe Pageant to be held in Manila, Philippines, in January 2017. The last Miss South Africa to compete in both the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants was Miss South Africa 2013 Marilyn Ramos.
The 2017 Miss South Africa Pageant will be staged by licence holders Sun International, in association with Cell C, in March next year.