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There was nothing unusual about her withdrawal from the Miss World competition and South Africans should support her replacement, first princess Remona Moodley, Miss SA Melinda Bam said on Thursday.
The 23-year-old blonde beauty, in the city for tomorrow’s Vodacom Durban July, was commenting for the first time about the “nonsense” media and Twitter gossip in the wake of her decision to pull out of the Miss World competition in China.
“I really believe Remona could win, otherwise I would not have made the decision I did,” Bam said.
“I once lived in China for six months. Now this is her chance to go.”
Bam announced last week that she would not be competing in the Miss World Pageant next month, and Miss SA sponsors Sun International said it was for “personal reasons” and that they respected her privacy.
She was focusing on working for the Miss Universe title at the end of the year – the venue is still undecided – and her publicist, Sue Klerck, who is in Durban with her, said Bam was “very excited” about the prospect.
A flurry of newspaper reports followed the beauty queen’s withdrawal from Miss World, with speculation ranging from a pregnancy to Bam’s party-girl lifestyle not making her the ideal contestant in a Miss World pageant.
“Melinda is not guilty of anything,” Klerck said.
Bam said the stories were “nonsense”’ and that people should rather pay attention to what her good friend, Remona, was doing.
“I am a little disappointed that taking a good decision has been turned into something sensational that is unfounded,” she said.
“I know what the truth is and I know that I made the right decision for the right reasons.
“My reign has been one of true character. A lot of people know that these stories are a bunch of nonsense.
“People should rather start supporting Remona. She needs the country’s support as well and not just mine or Sun International’s. Everyone needs to climb on board.”
Klerck said Miss SA was working closely with the first princess on a practical and emotional level because Moodley lacked the experience of being in the limelight.
Bam is looking forward to attending Africa’s premier horse race tomorrow, when she has a round of engagements including judging fashion competitions and going into the parade ring when all 20 horses in the R3 million race are introduced to the crowd.
She said she would be wearing a beautiful pink, red and blue dress by Durban designer Haroun Hansrot.
“I won’t be disappearing in the crowd with those colours,” she laughed.
And on Thursday the horse-loving beauty met another beauty at trainer Dennis Drier’s Summerveld stables: four-year-old Beach Beauty, which will be running 12th from the barrier in the Vodacom Durban July.
Bam was thrilled to learn that one of Beach Beauty’s seven wins had been on her May 13 birthday last year at Greyville.
“And I love the story behind Beach Beauty.”
The horse was bred by Trevor Armitage and bought by a syndicate in memory of Armitage’s son, Mark, who died more than two years ago. The syndicate includes the breeder as well as his son’s widow, Ruth, and several friends.
Mark Armitage was a birder and jockey Sean Cormack will be sporting the colours of Armitage’s favourite bird, a Narina Trogon: crimson, black with grey stripes and green.
“It is not about winning. We all have a drink on race days to remember Mark and know that he is watching. It has a very positive spin-off for his family and friends,” said one member of the syndicate, Warren Kidd.
While Beach Beauty might be small, she did not like losing and she did not get all wound up like other horses before a race, he said.
Assistant trainer, Stuart Ferrie, said Beach Beauty was “definitely in with a good chance” at the race.