The new Miss Namibia will be crowned on July 9 at the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino during a night that’s sure to be filled with amazing glitzy gowns and show-stopping bikini bodies. With the countdown on Time Out’s Selma Neshiko gotten closer to some former beauty queens on the ins and outs of the pageant, life after the crown and to hear some encouraging words for this year’s participants.
Mia de Klerk – Miss Namibia 2000
“Life is great! Being crowned Miss Namibia in 2000 was a seminal event in my life, but it was important for me to take that positive energy and apply it to the rest of my life. I am lucky that I am by nature a positive person, and so many great things happened since I was crowned Miss Namibia. I finished my law degree shortly after my crowning, continued with modelling work both locally and internationally, hosted TV shows in Namibia and in South Africa, got married to my fabulous husband, Erik Muthow, and have a gorgeous three year old daughter, Mila May. “I had the privilege to live abroad (Dubai to be more specific) for almost five years and completed my international Master’s Degree in Marketing Communications with the focus on developing and building luxury brands. We recently moved back to Namibia, and I am glad to be “home sweet home”.”
Mia established a Marketing Communications company in 2008 and it is still going strong. On the current state of the pageant, Mia says that the quality of the pageant depends on the quality of the ladies who enter, and quality ladies tend to enter only if the pageant itself is attractive to them. “Our next queen will be both a local and an internationally ambassador for our country, but will also be a strong role-model for young ladies. Her attitude, work ethic and character should be an example others want to follow. I would encourage her to use the Miss Namibia platform to see and learn as much as she possibly can and open her heart to everyone that.”
Marichen Luiperdt – Miss Namibia 2007
“ I am working hard pretty much like any other individual to earn a living and studying at the same time to up my knowledge, qualifications and become more successful and to look well after those that I need to,” she says. She works full time in the Information Communication Technology field and is pursuing her studies towards a Masters and/or even a PhD eventually. “I am a mother as well, to a lovely boy, which I feel is the best job in the world. Taking care of him and watching him grow, are possibly the most fulfilling/happiest moments I get to have, thanks to the Almighty. So among other things, those are some of the things that keep me busy,” she says. Marriage is something she desires to have someday, but right now she is focusing on the things that she want to achieve for herself first so that she can complement and blend in well with her future husband’s life when the time comes. “I want to provide for my husband just as much as he will and to do that, I am preparing and fulfilling my desires to grow into what I’ll be at ease with first. I’ve learned to be independent, responsible, mature, tough, open minded, mindful of others, more careful, freer to accept that not everyone will like/support you no matter how kind or a great person you are. But most of all, during my reign as Miss Namibia, I value the fact that I have travelled parts of the world, seen places, met people and experienced cultures, lifestyles, food, entertainment, life changing experiences, created great relationships that I probably otherwise wouldn’t have in any other capacity and for that I am grateful.”
Her advice to the next queen is to find a mentor that’ll lead the way and manage her and her schedules accordingly, but who will also promote and market her well enough to make an exceptional differences in whatever field /project (s) she is entitled to work on and those that she desire to work on during the year of her reign because she believes that only with proper guidance/advice and the right experienced and knowledgeable mentor on her side, will she be able to make a difference as an ambassador for the country.
Marelize Robberts –Miss Namibia 2008
“Absolutely fabulous, ” Marelize describes life after the crowning adding that more than eight years since her reign the experience has taught her that change is the only constant in life. She is not married, nor does she have any kids but she is sharing her life with “someone really incredible”. “I treasure the people I have met throughout my journey the most! I worked with people who become family and I have learned how important networking is. To this day I still use my international connections and also lean on my local family and friends. Together we can make a difference in this life.”
Marelize is a Public Relations Officer at Erongo Med in Windhoek where she does a lot of corporate social responsibility and that is right up her alley. Her advice to the participants is to be their authentic self. “We have very strong women in Namibia and I am very excited to see who our stunning new participants will be. Strive to always better yourself as a person: Spiritually, Mentally, Emotionally and physically.”
Happie Ntelamo-Matswetu – Miss Namibia 2009
Life couldn’t be better for Happie. After the pageant she went on to finish law school and started working at a local law firm in 2011. During 2012 she worked for the NBC TV presenting Good Morning Namibia. In 2013 she acted as the ambassador for the Katima Mulilo Mayor’s Civic awards which is an initiative that identifies and awards members of the community who uplift the community in various fields. In 2015 she resigned and took the entire year off to be a mom. In January 2016 she established her own law firm called Ntelamo-Matswetu & Associates. She says Miss Namibia has taught her to never underestimate her abilities, to seize opportunities life presents and most importantly to remain true to herself and change only for the better. “Be humble, a pretty face and a brilliant brain might get you places, but humility and respect for others opens doors and sustains relationships, she says. “The exposure alone is still working in my favour to this day. In the words of one former Miss Namibia, Mia De Klerk, “we are crowned for life” She says. On the current state of the pageant, Happie says it remains relevant in a society where our young women face so many ills and require guidance. “The pageant represents hard working women, with not only beauty and brains, but also the good hearts required to take on the purpose of the pageant. It is not all glitz and glamour, it is about showcasing to the world that we are as a nation, our culture, our resources, our way of business through the work we do for and with our sponsors, uplifting the community through charity work and other social activities. The list is endless. Any young woman that aspires to take on that role chooses a life that inspires others, and will in one way or another change lives for the better. That is why it is important for every beauty queen to continue the roles bestowed upon them by the pageant, because a young girl out there is aspiring to be just that type of woman. I wish all the contestants the best of luck and the next beauty queen a great year of reign and the lifetime rewards that will follow thereafter.”
Odile Müller –Miss Namibia 2010
The Miss Namibia name has allowed so many great opportunities since the crowning for Odile. And after six years, Odile says its great seeing younger women stepping up and competing for the crown and a chance to be Namibia’s ambassador. She is currently living and working part-time in Swakopmund as a radio DJ at West Coast FM, Freelance model, actress, dancer and MC. She has been married for three years now with no kids as she is in no rush. She says the experience taught her to remain humble and this title does not define one. “Society expects you to be or lead this extravagant and glamorous lifestyle, but the reality is that you have to face the challenges of real life every day, whilst still serving and representing your country. One lesson I did learn is that pride, a conceited attitude and self-gain only makes this experience (and life in general) harder. Also – and the most important: There will always be someone who, dislikes you, isn’t pleased with you or is hard on you. Always – you just need to let it become water off your back and move on,” she says. There is always room for improvement, and the key to solving all problems is communication. This Miss Namibia experience is irreplaceable. “Enjoy it, savour every moment of it and learn from each other. Humility will take you further and have fun.”
Luzaan van Wyk- Miss Namibia 2011
After almost five years since being crowned Miss Namibia in 2011, a lot has changed in Luzaan’s personal life as well as in her career. Since Miss Namibia she has been involved in some charity initiatives. She wishes she could encourage everyone to give back to their communities in whichever way they can, whether it’s their money, time or resources, she says every bit helps”. She was admitted as a legal practitioner shortly after her year as Miss Namibia came to an end and she is currently working at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Windhoek. She is a newlywed, got married this March and she is still getting used to the idea of being referred to as “Mrs Luzaan Visser” always catching self still writing “Miss Luzaan van Wyk” on all her official paperwork.
“I am proud to have been able to represent our beautiful country and to meet so many remarkable Namibians. I have learned that beauty is really only skin deep and that self-confidence, kindness, compassion, integrity and humility makes you someone to be remembered. “ The pageant is a great platform to meet new people and to extend network and to get involved with some great projects. The Miss Namibia pageant is still a very prestigious event and she thinks the national director is doing an excellent job. What she like most about the pageants is that it has a lot of Namibian “flavour” to it. “I think the Miss Namibia pageant is an excellent platform to promote local talent and fashion. Keep up the good job,” she says. She advises the participants to be themselves. “Be comfortable in your own skin. Be proud but stay humble. Being a finalist for the Miss Namibia pageant is already a very significant achievement which you can be proud of. Just have fun, enjoy every single moment, make friends and meet as many new people as possible. But most important of all, remember that this is a once in lifetime opportunity so make the best of it.”
Tsakana Nkandih – Miss Namibia 2012
Tsakana says life after Miss Namibia is a time for self-reflection in figuring out what’s next.” One never really goes back to one’s life before it all, but she is ok with that. She has joined the corporate world now and I work full time for a “wonderful” organisation. “It keeps me busy but there are more things that I would like to work on, pick up the pace from where I left things .Do more charity and goodwill work especially.” She is not married nor does she has any kids but says both are in the master plan. Her experience with the Miss Namibia organisation has taught her there are no limitations to what she can dream and achieve. Although she has always been a dreamer, it wasn’t until she won Miss Namibia that she realised that dreams do come true. The experience also taught her to appreciate the things that she has as there are so many Namibians who aren’t as fortunate. One of the best things that she got from being Miss Namibia is the opportunity to meet great people, go to great places and experience life from a whole new angle. Miss Namibia will always be phenomenal, it is a wonderful platform for whoever wins it to do something for themselves and for the country, it is still relevant.” However the Miss Namibia pageant could do better in terms of ensuring that the young lady who walks away with the crown receives the necessary support that she needs to fulfil her cause .It is also imperative to prepare the winner for international competitions. “We have not had a winner since Michelle in 1992 and I think that sends a clear message to the pageant that something has to change in terms of our preparations. Best of luck to the crown contender’s make us proud.”
NP: Not all former title holders could be reached for comments despite trying to get hold of them.