158 01.04.2014 Miss South Africa 2014 Rolene Strauss during the photo-shoot before the interview with the star newspaper at Maslow hotel in Sandton. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

It was all hairspray, wind machines and dress changes as the newly crowned Miss South Africa got ready in her hotel room for her first official photoshoot.

Dressed in an emerald satin and lace dress, with her brown tresses framing her face, Rolene Strauss laughed and followed directions as if her whirlwind of media appearances were having no effect.

“This is fun,” she smiled.

The 21-year-old medical student has been interviewed more than 40 times since her crowning on Sunday night – and she has borne it all without a complaint.

“It’s been so hectic, but I can’t get tired. It’s only when I get into bed that I realise how tired I am,” she said, as a team rushed around, organising her schedule and shoot.

Part of the team is former Miss SA Melinda Bam, who has scarcely left Strauss’s side and continually touches up her hair and make-up.

Bam is a Miss SA national executive and manages Strauss’s profile and the brand as well as international pageants.

Strauss said she had known at the age of 9 that she wanted to become Miss SA.

“(Former title holder) Joanne Strauss came to my home town, Volksrust (in Mpumalanga), to visit. She was so down to earth and she hugged me. We even shared the same surname.”

“At 16, I started modelling, but I soon realised I wanted to be a role model. With models it’s more about the outer than the inner beauty,” she said.

Her room was littered with clothes, shoes and jewellery – all lent to her.

Asked if she was single, she said, “I’m not in a public relationship”, but declined to elaborate.

She had not come across negative comments about the pageant and her winning it, Strauss said, but Twitter was abuzz with criticism on Sunday night. There were questions about the relevance of the pageant and whether it truly represented South African women.

“I think this year, especially, Miss SA is important because of 20 years of democracy.

“The finalists were from diverse backgrounds. It’s beauty with a purpose – it’s not about beautiful clothes and photoshoots.”

The beauty queen smiled and greeted each of her many visitors personally, at times even engaging in two conversations at the same time.

When she finishes her medical studies, which have been postponed during her reign, she plans to do an MBA to broaden her scope. - Pretoria News