Miss SA Top 10 finalist Pearl Ntshehi wants to inspire Mzansi’s youth to reimagine their communities and envision a prosperous nation. From Centurion in Pretoria, the Mamelodi-born twenty-five-year-old beauty queen is an advocate for positive empowerment and representation for all. A holder of multiple accolades, Pearl is a digital content creator holding three law degrees: a Bachelor of Commerce in Law, a Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Law, and an LLB degree. She is currently working as a candidate attorney.
Pearl’s daring take on life is to bounce back stronger and stay positive. “As the first female SRC president at my university, I have always believed that the presence of women is necessary in spaces of leadership in order to represent the discourses that will move our country forward,” said Pearl.
Moziak caught up with Pearl to discuss her journey in the Miss South Africa pageant and determination to champion representation across different spaces.
Congratulations on making it to the Top 10. How do you feel about reaching this milestone?
Pearl: Thank you! I feel so blessed! Making it to the Top 30 was already an honour, and now being part of the Top 10 is surreal! I’m so excited to be part of an organisation that aligns with who I am and my values. I’m excited for the journey ahead; it has already surpassed my expectations. This journey has been what I thought it would be and more! I know, for a fact, that this journey will assist me in my personal growth and in making a lasting impact on my community and the world at large.
What drew you to the world of pageantry?
What drew me to the world of pageantry is the difference I could make with the platform, the world of great possibilities. Entering a room with an idea and being heard is very powerful and important, especially as a young Black woman from the townships.
Many think that being in a pageant is just about entering or auditioning to walk on the stage; it is more. What happens behind the scenes leaves a mark. It’s interacting with like-minded individuals, the sisterhood, the workshops, and the team behind the brand that helps to mould your ideas into tangible and workable campaigns. To sum my thoughts up, what drew me to pageantry is the growth I can experience as Pearl and the impact I can make within my community and beyond.
How has your journey in this awe-inspiring competition been thus far?
Pearl: My journey has been truly amazing. Having the opportunity to meet and gain nine amazing sisters and getting to know the Miss SA team on a more personal level has been life-changing. When I reflect on my journey, I see positive change and growth. Being intentional about my growth has made a huge difference in my journey thus far. I know who I am, what aligns with me, what resonates with me, and, most importantly, why I do things. The experience is more than one could imagine.
Pearl: The most memorable moment of my journey was when we spent Youth Day at Dowling Primary School. Driving in and seeing the excitement on the children’s faces, the posters they had up with messages to us as the Top 10, and spending time with them was really heartwarming. I love spending time with children, putting smiles on their faces, and picking their creative brains. Knowing I did that in my capacity as a Miss South Africa Top 10 finalist made my reality of being in the Top 10 click.
South Africa has various socio-economic issues. Which of these are you most passionate about tackling?
Pearl: Unemployment amongst the youth. I have a non-profit organisation called Project 31; it is youth-based and focused on empowering the upcoming generation with soft skills and mentorship while giving back to our community.
I would love to see the next generation thrive in uncharted waters. I want them to know it is possible, and they can do it irrespective of where they’re from. Therefore, I decided to register Project 31. I want it to help in bridging the gap and contributing to alleviating the unemployment rate among our youth through mentorship and skills development.
We celebrated Youth Month a few weeks ago. What lessons do you think the youth of today can learn from the resilient youth of 1976?
Pearl: The lesson I think we as the youth can learn from the Class of 1976 is that our courage and resilience could have a ripple effect on the generations to come. So, that idea you have, implement it. That book you want to write, write it. The change you want to make, go for it. That goal you set, work hard to achieve it. We shouldn’t wait for validation. No idea is too small.
The Miss South Africa pageant is set to take place in August. What are your plans from now until then?
Pearl: My plans are to be present in my current phase, have fun, and enjoy every moment. I aim not to overthink things and prepare as best as I can.
Pearl intends to use her influence through the Miss SA platform to inspire action and conversations on how we can better enhance the beauty and lives within our communities while simultaneously responding to the pertinent issues that plague them.