Since the Miss South Africa Organisation bought the license to the Miss South Africa pageant in 2019, Transgender women have been able to enter and compete for the country’s most sought-after beauty pageant prize.
For the third successive year, Trans women are eligible to enter the 2021 Miss South Africa pageant. However, in order to be eligible to compete internationally, the contestant must be in possession of a valid South African ID document reflecting their gender identity alignment.
Says CEO of the Miss South Africa Organisation Stephanie Weil: “Since we took over the competition, our goal has been to be more inclusive and embracing of all members of society. The world is finally opening up to the changing beauty standards and understanding that beauty is not a one size fits all. We hope that the Miss South Africa Organisation will continue to play a role that can act as a catalyst to this. Miss South Africa will continue to recognise the innate potential in all young South African women and will provide both the tools and the platform to augment and shape this inbuilt talent into a leader who embraces her self-worth while inspiring others and creating a real social impact.”
Weil believes that the Transgender issue has garnered so much interest this year because of the surge of violence against Transgender people who are often are marginalised and stigmatised: “The Miss South Africa Organisation is committed to continue to put a spotlight on these issues and create an awareness and conversations in hope of bringing about understanding and tolerance.”
Earlier this year former Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi took to social media to pay tribute to Miss Spain 2018 Angela Ponce, the first-ever Transgender woman to compete at Miss Universe also noting: “I just recently learnt that violence against Trans people has surged 266% from last year. They deserve to live a life as humane, happy and free as any other person. Stop with the violence! I’m gonna say this in case it has not been clear. Trans rights are human rights.”
Weil also tackled the issue of why women who have been married or have children cannot enter the Miss South Africa pageant.
“At the moment there is no global pageant governing body and, to an extent, leading international pageants that we send Miss South Africa winners to, dictate pageantry standards. However, we hope to become thought leaders and this we can achieve by starting somewhere. Our ultimate goal is that women in South Africa can identify and see themselves reflected in those who enter the competition. The changes are all part of an ongoing drive by the Miss South Africa Organisation to keep the pageant relevant in today’s world.”
Entries for Miss South Africa 2021 will close on June 24 at midnight. All details and entry forms under Miss SA 2021 on the official website www.misssa.co.za.
Miss South Africa is presented by Weil Entertainment in association with M-Net, Mzansi Magic, Sun International, Brand South Africa and the City of Cape Town.