No Miss Universe for Keysi Sayago!?!?

According to an article by, Miss Venezuela Keysi Sayago would not be competing in Miss Universe this year as MVOrg could not come up with the necessary franchise fee for her participation.

The article reads:
“For the first time since the 1952 World Beauty Fair began, Venezuela may not send a representative to it… Keysi Sayago, the current Miss Venezuela and to represent the country in Miss Universe 2017, was selected on October 6 of last year and has since been preparing for international competition.
The big problem is that so far, the Miss Venezuela Organization has not been able to pay the annual franchise fee required by the Miss Universe Organization to accept its candidate…
Sayago hopes that the money will still be collected and her dreams of representing her country in Miss Universe can be fulfilled. And is that in the history of Miss Venezuela there is a similar antecedent that had a happy ending.
In 2003 Mariangel Ruiz was informed that she would not go to the international competition because the national organization could not pay the annuity. The girl did not give up and continued with her training. At the last minute they managed to raise the $ 70,000 needed at that time and Ruiz was able to join the contest.”

While not all hopes is lost, we can only wish that some miracle will happen for Venezuela to be able to participate this year…

Controversy! Miss South Africa Demi Leigh Nel-Peters is Accused of Racism

One of the latest controversies online is how reigning Miss South Africa Demi Leigh Nel-Peters was being called of as ‘racist’ after wearing gloves while being with orphaned black children with HIV in Soweto, South Africa…

Demi Leigh served food for orphaned kids living with the HIV virus while wearing gloves and was pictured with them while being with the kids on her Twitter account. This sparked some comments over Twitter that she was being ‘racist’ for wearing the gloves as HIV and AIDS aren’t transmitted through skin to skin contact but through passing of bodily fluids (through intercourse, contaminated needles, etc…). Some comments questioned the need for wearing gloves in mingling with the kids questioning her motives. In some other photos though she is seen touching the kids without the gloves on. But the barrage of angry tweets have already made this an issue. This  prompted Demi to release a video explaining the use of gloves saying, “all the volunteers on site wore gloves because we were told it was the right thing to do while working with food and we were handing out food to young kids. That was our only intention with wearing the gloves; to be as hygienic as possible. I really feel that my intentions were completely misunderstood. To me, the moral of the story today is that 300 kids got a proper, warm lunch and they got that with or without gloves, so I am a bit sad my intentions were taken completely wrong and I can only apologize if I offended anybody.

My personal take on this is that there was nothing wrong with the usage of the gloves. It was actually a hygienic practice among food servers to wear them. What was taken out of context though was when she mingled with the kids while still wearing them. If she knew that media are there to photograph her charity work, she should have minded to have taken the gloves off after serving food and started being photographed with the children. There was no wrong omitted here except for the fact that Demi or her Miss SA team should have been more aware of implications if she was photographed wearing gloves interacting with HIV infected kids. It did give off a negative note, specially as it was Demi who posted the pic on her social media account.

I hope that she would be more media savvy in the future to avoid these kinds of social media mistakes. In a world where everything is at a digital fast pace, a picture may depict a thousand words but it doesn’t always speak the full truth. Race still seems to be a touchy topic in South Africa, a shadow of the apartheid policy that divided the country in the past. So Demi should have been more aware and sensitive of that, or at least people around her should have been. 

The Most Damaging Scandals & Controversies to Pageant Image Pt.2

This is the final part of this 2-part series. In this post we examine three of the biggest pageant scandals and controversies that hounded female pageants.

3. The Miss Earth Allegations of ‘Crown Buying’ – this was a fabricated story by some Russia-based media that spliced conversations with the ME Org head honcho Lorraine Shuck that was about a pageant sponsorship/ hosting proposal. The spliced audio/video made it look like the crown was available for ‘purchase’ when they were talking about fees and royalties in hosting/ sponsorship. Despite the allegations being proven false, the damage was done and it did make a dent in the pageant’s decade long reputation. This was all because of irresponsible media wanting to fabricate a story out of sensationalism. Nevertheless the Miss Earth pageant continues its advocacy and its working relationships with other international organizations like the United Nations regarding climate change awareness and ecology preservation.

2. The Pageant Fixing of Miss Asia Pacific World SuperTalent (not to be confused with Miss Asia Pacific Quest or Miss Asia Pacific International) – there is nothing more damaging to a pageant’s reputation than pageant fixing of the winner. But this has to be most scandalous one to ever grace the pageant scene as it opened a huge closet full of skeletons by the Korean-owned Miss Asia Pacific World Supertalent Organization. May Myat Noe’s win came with allegations of pageant fixing by the organizers and a pageant portal. It was said that it was Filipina Hillarie Parungao who was the alleged real winner of the pageant but was relegated to a runner up finish in favor of the Burmese beauty. Further phone conversation leaks was later revealed about the alleged pageant fixing that happened between the org and the pageant portal’s head correspondent.

The scandal did not end there as weeks later, the May Myat Noe ran off with the prized crown back to her country and was immediately dethroned. During the ensuing weeks mud-slinging came from both quarters as May Myat Noe accused the pageant of fixing her age on pageant forms to make her of legal age. It was later revealed that she was underage (she was still around 15 years old when she won). The pageant organizers on the other hand said that she was difficult to work with and refused to sign the contract with them and refused to fulfil her duties as winner. There was also allegations of forced breast augmentation that the 15 year old received but was said to have been requested by the winner. Add to it is the theft of the US$100,00-worth crown to which the Burmese beauty refused to return before an apology is made by the Korean-based pageant.

The controversy was so big that it dug up previous controversies that involved holding up candidates from leaving the competition (you can Google Amy Willerton and Miss Asia Pacific World Supertalent). Nowadays the pageant isn’t active anymore.

1. The Miss World Venue Deadly/Violent Protests – the embattled pageant has been through more controversies that we can count but one that tops it all off were the numerous venue protests, cancellations and moves. Every time that the pageant is held in Great Britain, women’s liberation groups would hound the pageant from the 60’s even into the turn of the century. But the biggest of them all was in 2002 when the pageant held its contest in Nigeria during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Despite the move of the pageant date to December, the protests continued. The arrival of women that were expected to compete in fast-tracks that included swimsuits were met with violent protests that saw at least 100 people killed. It got worse when continued clashes saw the burning of a newspaper office and violence continued to escalate. This prompted the cancellation of the event and was hastily moved to London. This scenario was repeated as well in 2013 where protests in Muslim-majority Jakarta forced the organizers to keep the Miss World pageant in the Hindu island of Bali where it proceeded without a glitch. Although no deaths occurred, threats that a disruption to the pageant’s finals continued as protesters would march to disrupt the event in Bali. Thankfully, security was tight at the finals venue and the pageant continued without any signs of violence. In 1996, when the contest was held in India, one man burned himself alive in protest of the pageant. This was following more than two months of protests that included protesters’ threats of setting themselves on fire during the pageant’s finals in Bangalore. No other beauty pageant has created such violent protest in this magnitude despite the Miss World’s Beauty with a Purpose ethos and its commitment to charity.

Scandals and controversies like these can damage the image of the pageant. Some could weather the storm while others would definitely not be able to outlive them. While others would continue with the stain attached to them… 

The Most Damaging Scandals & Controversies to Pageant Image Pt.1

A pageant’s image is its main source of stature and future income. So when a pageant’s image has been damaged, the organization has to pull all their resources to control the damage and salvage the trust or support that is left. Fairness, equality, integrity, honesty and sensitivity should be the cornerstones when building your pageant brand.
Coming up with a list of the most damaging controversies to a pageant image is indeed very subjective and difficult to quantify. No matter how hard I would try, there would be no way for this to look objective as this is my personal thoughts regarding the matter. I wouldn’t dare say that my list would be taken as the absolute regarding this topic but it could offer some points that is up for discussion and healthy debate.
Coming from a ‘branding’ point of view the scandals and controversies listed here below, I can surmise that these definitely hurt the image of the pageant.

6. The Miss Universe 1979 Stage Collapse – this has to be one of the most embarrassing moments of the pageant that almost every pageant fan has forgotten. Having a stage collapse was something that no pageant could ever live down, IMHO, as it will be something that people will talk of and passed on as pageant trivia. But this happened to the Miss Universe pageant held in Australia in 1979. The stage collapsed after the pageant has finished its telecast where a number of the candidates fell and got hurt. At least two girls suffered mild injuries were taken to the hospital. A recorded 20 girls were said to have fallen into the hole. The part of the stage that collapsed created a hole that was 9 feet long and six feet wide. It was attributed that the additional weight of the photographers going onstage was the culprit for the stage collapse. That was the headlines the following day which eclipsed the crowning of Maritza Sayalero of Venezuela. Thankfully for the pageant, it didn’t happen during the live telecast as that would have been more damaging to the pageant’s image.

5. The Miss Grand International Resignation of Anea Garcia – this definitely trumps the Body Shaming Issue involving Miss Iceland or the lack of food at the hotel for the candidates that was last year’s dilemma. According to the memo released by the MGI organization, Anea’s dethronement was due to her inability to do her work as winner as her studies conflicts with her schedules as winner and that she was asking/ demanding requests that were not part of her contract which included her grandmother living with her in Thailand. Shortly thereafter came several screenshots that were leaked that showed the correspondence of Anea to the org. It included her concerns over safety as she was tasked to travel alone to South Sudan without a MGI chaperone and assistance during her trip. Other issues she pointed out were representations of her on social media which includes misrepresentation on quotes and nice high-quality photos to be posted, as well as providing enough living allowances for food and basic needs. This is a serious issue as if the organization cannot take care of the well-being and safety of their winner, then it puts serious questions on the integrity of the pageant.

4. The Miss World Apartheid Issue – this has been one of the controversies that the pageant hasn’t been able to escape up to this day. Back in the 70’s the Miss World allowed South Africa to send two girls to compete in Miss World, one black and one white. It was back when the issue of the Apartheid was a major global issue. A white Miss South Africa (Jillian Jessup, MW 4th runner up) and a black Miss Africa South (Pearl Jansen, MW 1st runner up) both came and competed in the pageant. Both also became runners up in the 1970 edition of the pageant. The following years also saw two delegates from the country and was named Miss Africa South and Miss South Africa. This practice continued until 1976. A number of participants withdrew from the pageant or had their governments requested them to pull out from the contest due to the apartheid policy. This happened in 1976 with 9 participants and in 1977 with 11 candidates. Such magnitude of international protest against the South African Apartheid issue saw countries taking a political side. Since its inception in 1951, no black South African has won the Miss World title, all of them were white. It is said that the Miss World allowed the two Misses South Africa to compete to allow the black Miss South Africa representation in the pageant. But it was not the message that the world received as most believed that such act perpetrated the racial divide and even promoted it. Equal rights defenders would say that such policy of allowing 2 candidates in the MW contest sends a simple message that the only way a black Miss South Africa can compete is when a white Miss SA is also represented.

Final part coming soon…

Why Maureen Wroblewitz Won…

I have vowed to myself not to talk anymore about a certain reality-TV competition after witnessing past seasons of forgettable winners who were nothing more than accessories to boost ratings. But I think it would be a mistake not to talk about how Maureen Wroblewitz deserved to win. 

With all due respect to the fans’ opinions coming from different countries’, I believe that this season was nothing more than just a reality-TV drama series. None of this year’s candidates have it to be big-time models outside Asia. Why is that? Because true modeling big-wigs come from ‘real’ modeling competitions like the Ford Supermodel Search or the Elite Model Look. Unless this competition comes up with winners the caliber of Tao Okamoto,  Liu Wen, or Ai Tominaga… it will be just another generic competition watched for the drama.

In all honesty, I wished that Maureen wouldn’t have won as I prefer to see her instead in Binibining Pilipinas in the next couple of years. She would do much better as a beauty queen rather than a model, attitude and face-wise. But between the top 3 Maureen is undoubtedly the better choice, because of her face. Maureen is the face that could sell any product. Tu is too sexy and coudln’t seem to know how to dial it down. Shikin is too editorial and better suited on the catwalks. I honestly could not imagine either of them selling products like perfumes, toothpaste, shampoos, cosmetics or any beauty product. As a matter of fact any model would want to score those because those are the ones that pay big bucks. Let’s face it, in the end every model would want to have that 6 figure salaries that large cosmetics & beauty companies would pay for product endorsements or commercials. That is not inclusive of the fees if the commercial is to be air internationally, we are talking another set of paycheck/s for that. Magazine covers, fashion editorials and yes even catwalk shows don’t pay much to cover the bills. The difference in paycheck is as huge as the dropping of two 0’s.

If this reality TV competition wants to get afloat with sponsors, they had to wise up and select one that can actually sell products. Having Subaru as a major sponsor is not enough. Not all car brands do commercials in all ASEAN countries. So the best bet is to get someone who can sell Colgate, Pantene, Nivea, Maybelline, etc… Sadly for the top 3 only one has that face. Criticisms that she is “only face and no skill” is just that. Having a commercial face is nothing to laugh at, because that kind of face would ensure endorsement deals. 
So I will let the haters and the bitter gourds have their moment pulling down Maureen. After all, nothing is more satisfying than to watch Maureen laugh her way to the bank…

Was Miss South Africa 2017 rigged?

This is a tricky topic so I thought it would be best to repost the entire write-up from the source material and you be the judge of it….

Cape Town – Ten finalists and semi-finalists have come forward claiming that the Miss South Africa 2017 pageant was rigged in Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters’ favour.
The allegations call into question Nel-Peters’ relationship with the former National Executive of Miss South Africa, Melinda Bam and fashion stylist, Werner Wessels.
The Juice followed-up on all the allegations and got comment from the Miss South Africa pageant, the contestants making the claims, pageant coach Werner Wessels, and the newly crowned winner herself. (Scroll down to see all the full responses.)
The Sowetan first reported on the “rigging” claims on Wednesday.
After just a few hours of investigation no less than 10 contestants were willing to anonymously speak to The Juice about the pageant and the backstage drama that has now clouded Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters’ win.
Miss South Africa spokesperson Claudia Henkel has called these allegations “unfounded” and chalked up reports to the “pressure” of the competition. (Scroll down to see the full response from the pageant.)

According to several finalists and semi-finalists concerns regarding Nel-Peters’ preferential treatment were raised as early as regional judging and was even brought up with Claudia Henkel, Sun International and Cell C during the final stages of the competition.

Contestant 1: “I feel that the competition was definitely rigged. We as contestants decided to raise the issue with Claudia, Sun International and the Cell C team. During the meeting they basically just told us that our allegations were not valid and that it [preferential treatment] was not the case.”

Contestant 2: “Speculation started during the early days of top 26, when we were still semi-finalists and it got a lot more serious once we started realising favouritism. And that is when some of the girls called a meeting with Sun International and the sponsors.
“She [Claudia Henkel] made it seem as if the crux of that meeting was about the girls doing private charity work during the pageant. But the crux of that meeting was actually about Demi’s unfair advantage in the competition. The girls sitting there in that meeting with Demi were not afraid to point that out. We felt frustrated.”

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

Contestant 1: “During the first round of regional judging where the auditions were open to the public, Demi had auditioned in Cape Town if I’m not mistaken. And on the official Miss South Africa account was a video of Demi-Leigh saying what she would do if she won the R1 million. The caption stated: We have found our new Miss South Africa.

“The post was quickly removed by the digital team and they said to us, ‘oh, it was a fault from the digital team.’ And again we found that Sun International was shifting blame, saying that it was a digital error. It was only regional judging and they had already posted something like that. So that for us was a red flag.”

Contestant 2: “We spoke about Demi being pushed unfairly on social media. We all handle our own social media accounts and then they post on behalf of us girls on the official Miss South Africa account. They were basically continuously posting about Demi, and the public would respond: ‘Where are the other 11 finalist? why are you posting of Demi.’
“We would all read those comments and about a day later the photo would be removed or those comments would be removed.”

Contestant 4: “You could see on the social media pages they were constantly focused on Demi. We would ask, but it was pretty obvious how this whole competition would end.”

Contestant 1: “Throughout the duration of the pageant she [Demi-Leigh] definitely had a lot of insights about the day, before we would have any insights. She would already know who we were meeting, she would know all these things when we would always be wondering how was she aware of these incidents before we even got briefed?”

Contestant 1: “One of the contestants said that she approached Werner to train her and Werner said he has been training Miss South Africa 2017 since 2015 and he won’t be taking on anyone [else] for 2017. His package doesn’t just offer styling advice. He gives insights of who they’ll be meeting, what to say and what to post on social media.

“I think that deep inside she knows that everyone was very upset at the way things were conducted. And I’m surprised that previous years nobody has ever said anything. We weren’t aware that we were allowed to have coaches. And that was part of the meeting that we had with Sun International. We were never told to get mentors or coaches.
“What we find strange is how someone could have coached six consecutive winners. They are not advertising equality or fairness throughout the pageant.”

SIDE NOTE: Werner Wessles coached former Miss South Africa Melinda Bam, Marilyn Ramos, Rolene Strauss, Liesl Laurie and Ntando Kunene.


Contestant 2: “He [Werner Wessels] trains you for interviews, he tells you what to say, he tells you how to say it, he approves what goes out on your social media. And the one thing that is preached especially during our workshop weeks as finalists is, authenticity. And if someone is coming in and telling you how to live and how to compete, it’s not a true reflection of who you are.
“I think that message is common between all of us: That we don’t think a worthy winner took that title. And I don’t think that it’s sitting well with the girls. It doesn’t make you a worthy winner just because you are trained by him. As far as I know, Demi had a personal relationship with Werner, Melinda [Bam] and Rolene [Strauss]. And as far as I know Werner had been training Demi for a number of years.”

Contestant 4: “We became aware of the internal influences or insights that he might have, that is not accessible to us. How does it happen that all the girls that he coaches wins? They explained to us that it is just a coincidence. And that for us was not a fair or reasonable response. Her stylist [Werner Wessels] had a relationship with a sponsor. Werner was styling one of the judges, who judged two of the official judging rounds. That type of relationship by association made it uncomfortable.”


Contestants 4: “I experienced moments where it felt like an unfair competition, favouring Demi-Leigh. There was an instance where we had an event scheduled for Demi-Leigh on our itinerary. The itinerary is scheduled by the production company but they have a relationship with Sun International. An event was scheduled for Demi-Leigh specifying that all the girls are to join her.
“Given that we had made it to top 12 we were notified that there were strict rules put in place, going into top 12. You are not as flexible with your time and you can’t easily go do your own thing. But her being assigned a scheduled event in our itinerary, it raised eyebrows. As we also had our own preferred private events that we could have attended. So when we saw that her own private event was scheduled for everyone to attend it made us question the advantage towards her. When we raised this in conversation, we were told that we were allowed to go do our own events, when it was previously said that we can’t.”

Contestant 5: “What puzzles me a lot was that the girls got an invitation from Sun International saying that they were supposed to attend a charity event hosted by Demi. And it did not make sense to me. 12 girls are competing, why is it essential for the girls to attend one person’s charity event. I could see that there was a bit of a problem. Several of the girls approached the organisers and asked if they could attend charity events in their personal capacity, and they were told no.”

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

In an e-mail response to The Juice‘s questions, Claudia Henkel wrote: “These allegations are unfounded. The caliber of contestants in this year’s competition was exceptionally high and the contestants undoubtedly felt the pressure. As with many competitions, there can be only one winner and inevitably someone will end up disappointed, which is understandable.

“The judging of the contestants, which includes both the public vote and the judges vote, is supervised by independent auditors. All meetings between the judges were supervised by a representative from the audit firm.”

Speaking to The Juice stylist Werner Wessels labelled accusations that he gave Demi-Leigh “insights” into the competition as “false.”

Here is Werner’s full statement regarding the allegations made against him:
“I met Demi when she was 15 which was in 2011 and yes it usually takes me a year to work with the girls. I teach them everything that I feel they need to know about pageants. Various make-up techniques, how to do their hair for different occasions, I put together a wardrobe for them that is appropriate for different events. My role is is there to make these girls present themselves in the best way possible to judges.
“I have been very fortunate to have started with Melinda Bam, who has been my best friend since high school. We had this dream of her competing in Miss South Africa and I told her that I would help her as soon as I had a degree in BA Fashion and I would put together her styling. We just thought it would be a fun thing to do as best friends. And then she won and she did really well.
“Then people started contacting me for consultations and then it turned into the this thing where Rolene Strauss contacted me before she entered Miss South Africa and I started with her, and then Liesl Laurie contacted me the next year and then Ntando Kunene after that. As well as other various finalists I’ve walked the road with.
“This is something I do as an independent pageant trainer. This is my job, this is my passion and this is what I love to do. And I am very fortunate to have been this successful this far.
“The winning streak is attributed to that nobody does what I do in this country, as extensively as I do it. I have applied my model of training to countries like the Philippines, Venezuela and the USA.
“I’ve been very fortunate to train Miss America for the Miss World pageant in 2015. I apply my model of training like they do in those countries and in those countries you don’t enter a pageant without a pageant coach. Because it is such a big business there. And because it isn’t something that is so well-known here, people think that there must be something wrong.
“It is really unfortunate that people are spinning this into something negative when I’m really just wanting to deliver the country with more Jo-Ann Strauss’, Basetsana Kumalo’s more Cindy Nel’s and hopefully Rolene Strauss’.”

Werner Wessels


Did Demi-Leigh receive preferential treatment during the competition?
No. Every contestant was treated equally.

Did Demi-Leigh have an unfair advantage with Werner Wessels as her coach? During the lead up to Miss South Africa, all contestants were put through a week of workshops. Individual coaches were not provided for by the organisers, however contestants were allowed to hire (at their own cost) a coach if they wanted to.

Did Demi-Leigh have insight into the competition that nobody else had?
It is important to note that many of the contestants have personal relationships with contestants from previous years and would have had some insight into the pageant. In fact a number of this year’s contestants participated previously so did not only have insight but experience. One contestant for instance has a relative who is well-known in the entertainment industry and who at some point was involved in the pageant.

Is it true that Demi-Leigh hosted a charity event during the final stages of the competition when other contestants were told they couldn’t do the same? Absolutely not, this specific topic was addressed with all contestants in the presence of the sponsors and auditors long before the pageant. We specifically indicated to all contestants that should they wish to attend a charity event that they had been supporting, that would be allowed. A number of other finalists attended their own charity events throughout the competition.

Could Demi-Leigh’s personal relationship with Melinda Bam and Rolene Strauss influence the outcome of the competition in any way?
These relationships have no bearing on the outcome of the pageant as neither were involved nor could influence the results. Again, many of this year’s finalists personally know winners and contestants from previous years.

Claudia Henkel

When asked if she received any preferential treatment throughout the pageant she said, “definitely not.” She feels “heartbroken” by the allegations made against her and wishes everyone would rather focus on the positive instead of bringing each other down.

Regarding claims that concerns about her alleged unfair advantage were raised early on she says:
“Yes, these concerns were raised and the meeting did take place and everything you’ve asked me in this interview was discussed. Sun International and Cell C explained to them that there is absolutely nothing wrong with appointing a coach and everyone is allowed to attend their charity events. The only concern the sponsors had was that these things had to be discussed with them first and we get permission to attend charity events.”

Regarding claims that she was the only contestant allowed to attend a charity event she says:
“My charity event landed on the call sheet, which maybe wasn’t the right thing to do. But the only reason it was on the call sheet was so that if any of the girls wanted to attend they knew to bring clothes for that. It was made very clear that the event was to be confirmed. Sun International later said that nobody was obliged to go. Nobody ended up coming to the charity event.
“My heart is pure, I had the best intentions and I didn’t want to upset anyone by that. It does make me sad, it’s definitely not nice. I would have loved to work with the girls. But after something like this, how to you trust anyone? I’ve forgiven everyone and I hope that they find peace.
“The Miss South Africa schedule changes all the time. My charity event was scheduled seven months in advance and couldn’t let anyone down. They gave me permission to attend, because I didn’t have anything else on that evening. There were other girls who had charity events, even weddings and private events that they attended. It definitely wasn’t just me. Everyone had an equal opportunity.”

Regarding her relationship with Werner Wessels she says:
“Having Werner as coach definitely helped me to be better prepared, to be better groomed and just to be best version of myself. I decided to appoint Werner. I’ve known him since I was 16, he is a stylist by profession and I’ve done modelling since I was 16. I know him through the industry and I asked him to help me with Miss South Africa. Because I didn’t want to look back on the competition and think, ‘Demi you could have been better prepared. You could have been better groomed.’ That is the reason I appointed him.

“Maybe it did give me an advantage but any girl was allowed to appoint a coach. I wasn’t the only girl with a coach.
“Werner did not give me any unfair insights into the competition, not at all. He is an independent stylist. He works for himself and he has no affiliation with Sun International. In fact, they have no contact.
“I knew more than what he did. I would tell him what was on the itinerary and that was the relationship. I told him what was going on. He really had no inside information whatsoever.”

Regarding her relationship with Melinda Bam and Rolene Strauss she says:
“I don’t have a personal relationship with Melinda Bam or Rolene Strauss. I attended a women’s workshop with Melinda Bam about two years ago. I met her there because she met all the girls who attended the event. We took photos as normal. And I never saw her after that, but we did become friends after the pageant. And I’m thankful for her being there for me through this time.”

Demi-Leigh talks about how she feels following these claims:
“When I entered this competition one of my goals was to make good friends, being a business woman and an entrepreneur myself I thought these could be women that I could walk a road with. It breaks my heart to know that there are girls that would do something like this, and in Afrikaans there is a saying, ‘wat so laag sal daal’ (that will stoop so low.) And it is not something you would expect from girls that have so much going for them and that are so successful in their own way already.

“I feel that it is competition, and there can only be one winner. There are some great things going for all of these girls. And I wish we would rather focus on the positive instead of bringing each other down.”


Was Miss South Africa Rigged in Favour of Demi-Leigh?

Here is a word-for-word repost of The Sowetan article on the rigging claims in the Miss South Africa 2017 pageant. This controversy also claims that Miss South Africa 1st Princess, Ade van Heerden (a military officer and doctor) is to be sent to Miss World…

At least 15 semifinalists and finalists, some of whom participated in the glamorous event at Sun City last month, have alleged that the competition was rigged in Nel-Peters’s favour.
At least six finalists who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation claimed Nel-Peters had a personal trainer, a grooming expert, sponsored make-up lessons, preferential treatment during charity visits and had personal relationship with some of the judges and Sun International-affiliated officials.
Sowetan has heard voice notes in which runner-up Ade van Heerden alleged she was offered to participate in Miss World when she complained about the alleged rigging.
In the voice note she is heard telling another finalist: “We were not really smiling and stuff … I watched the video and I am like sh*t Ade, you have already rolled your eyes once when she got crowned.”
She continued: “People don’t know the whole story behind it, so they do think that I am bitter? My disappointment is not necessarily in the loss and I am not the only one that is disappointed, we are 11 girls that are disappointed that the wrong person won.”
Van Heerden, a doctor and soldier, added that organisers tried intimidating her into signing a contract that stated she was not allowed to say anything and also promised her participation in Miss World.
A letter sent to Sowetan by a group of participants alleged Nel-Peters was groomed to win by being allocated a “Sun International-affiliated” trainer known as Werner Wessels. He was also responsible for training consecutive Miss SA winners, Ntandoyenkosi Kunene, Liesl Laurie, Melinda Bam and Rolene Strauss.

“Sun International claims that Mr Wessels has no influence regarding the winner of the pageant and that he serves purely as an external stylist to any girl who wishes to employ his services. However, Werner does more than just styling. Part of his package includes providing the girls ‘inside information’ throughout the journey to the crown,” the letter reads.
The finalists said it saddens them to see thousands of hopefuls enter the competition with no chance of winning.
They also claimed that Nel-Peters has a personal relationship with Bam, who is also a former Sun International national executive, and one of the judges, former Miss SA Claudia Henkel.
“Henkel made her likes and dislikes of contestants very clear … sometimes during the various stages of the judging process to the discomfort of all present.”
The letter also stated they were told that Nel-Peters had won public votes, but a list of voting results which was supposed to be available on the night of the pageant was no longer available.
Yesterday, Wessels admitted to working closely with Nel-Peters during the pageant, but denied he has a relationship with Sun International. “I worked only with Demi-Leigh this year, but this has been changing for the past five [years] or so that I have been working on the pageant.
“I am in no way contracted to Sun International and none of the things they are saying are true. I’m an independent pageant coach and professional stylist. I am passionate about working with beauty queens. I started working with Demi-Leigh when she was 16 years old.”
Henkel, who speaks for both Sun International and the Miss SA pageant, dismissed the allegations as “unfounded”.
“The calibre of contestants in this year’s competition was exceptionally high and the contestants undoubtedly felt the pressure. As with many competitions, there can only be one winner and inevitably someone will end up disappointed, which is understandable.”
Henkel said they had a meeting with finalists, sponsors and auditors where they raised their concerns, and the finalists said they were happy with the outcome.

One of the judges, Maps Maponyane, said: “Mine along with other judges’s responsibility was just to find the girl we thought could best represent the country.
We would not know much about the politics of the pageant. The only complaint I heard of was that some of the girls had personal trainers and that was beyond our control… every girl brought their own.”
However, Nel-Peters said: “It was a competition and I wish that everyone could understand that it was just a competition where everyone had an equal opportunity at winning. Usain Bolt has a trainer to help him advance at the Olympics, and it is never a problem when Wayde Van Niekerk has his own personal trainer. So why is it a problem with me now?” she asked.
Nel-Peters denied she was given any special treatment by sponsors.
Bam said: “I know her since she was 16 years old. She came to my workshops about three times. I know Ade as well. Demi-Leigh is also in the same modeling agency as me, so I know her from there as well.”
Bam added that she had no influence in Nel-Peters winning as she had resigned from Sun International two years ago.
“It’s always the case and it was the same with me too because when I was crowned there were 11 other girls who were nasty to me … they said I should be disqualified because I am a former FHM model.
“It is just sad that some of these girls will not accept that they have not been crowned,” she said.