A star-studded panel of judges has been announced for the Miss South Africa 2019 coronation, scheduled for Friday, August 9.
This year's panel includes reigning Miss Universe Catriona Gray from the Philippines. The news comes after weeks of online speculation that Gray would either be invited as a guest or judge.
As well as Gray and former Miss South Africa and Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, the line-up includes Anele Mdoda; actress and businesswoman Connie Ferguson and SA model, activist and lawyer Thando Hopa, who was the first woman with albinism to feature on a Vogue cover. It was while working as a prosecutor that Hopa was scouted by leading fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee to work as a model.
Gray said: "Having been through the pageant system by competing nationally, earning the right to represent my country at Miss Universe and then going on to win the title, I feel that I have first-hand experience of what’s required of a candidate to compete on a national and international level, as well as understanding what the role and platform represents. I will be looking for authenticity, confidence and purpose, to find the woman who will continue SA's amazing success in the Miss Universe pageant.”
Nel-Peters added: "This is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. What better way to celebrate Women’s Day than on home soil. I have been in these ladies' shoes, so I understand what they are experiencing and I can relate to them in every aspect of the competition. I also know how much effort I put in as a competitor and how much dedication it takes to win, not only a national title, but the most sought-after international title. Being an international model and having the experience of judging multiple national titles I believe my knowledge and experience will be valuable.”