On December 14th of last year, South African Rolene Strauss was crowned Miss World in London. She is the second South African woman to ever win the title and the third to hold it.
Rolene Strauss was born in Volksrust, Mpumalanga in 1992. Her father and mother are a doctor and a nurse respectively and the beauty pageant winner is a fourth year medical student at the University of the Free State. Her dedication to her studies testifies for her passion about leaving behind a legacy and not merely focusing on good looks. The young South African would like to make a change and listed President Zuma, Melinda Gates and Aishwarya Rai as the three people she would love to have dinner with.
Rolene watched the crowning of Jo-Ann Strauss as Miss South Africa in 2000 when she was only eight years old and although the winner was unrelated to her, she began dreaming of winning the title herself. The aspiring model became the national winner of the Elite Model International contest and became the youngest girl to win the national competition at the age of 15. She was placed in the Top 15 of Elite Model International 2007 and first entered the Miss South Africa contest in 2011, leaving the competition as part of the Top Five. In March of 2014, her dream was realised when she was crowned Miss South Africa but little did she know that she would also become Miss World later that year.
The 22-year old Miss World was met with a hero’s welcome at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg when she arrived back home after billions of people around the world watched her crowning ceremony as the 64th Miss World. Rolene is the first South African to hold the title in 40 years and the first African to have received it in thirteen years, after Nigerian Agbani Darego who became the first black African woman to win the title in 2001. After her crowning during a fireworks finale of the global pageant Rolene Strauss commented: “South Africa this is for you. I think I will brace myself for what’s about to happen. It’s a huge responsibility.”