Catching Up With Sophie Ndaba

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The new Miss South Africa 2016 will only be crowned in March next year, but the judging has started. We sat down for a “getting to know you” session with one of the judges, Sophie Ndaba. Sophie-Ndaba

You have led a fascinating life through an extraordinary career. What’s been the one thing that you’ve done that you’ve loved more than any other?

Everything I do is unique. I’ve been an actress for 25 years. I love acting, but I’m multi-focused. I’ve had a production company for 15 years; we’ve designed, planned and coordinated events around the world. I also see myself as a philanthropist; I try to make children’s dreams come true. I grew up in an orphanage, so I have a pretty good idea what kids in children’s homes or shelters dream of. About eight years ago, I started an interior decorating company. But, I’m passionate about everything I do; I’m very driven! I’m very lucky as I am supported by excellent teams.

Are you a dedicated follower of fashion? Which was your best era?

Ooh – I love fashion! I’m an avid shopper and collect shoes and bags. I’m not a follower of trends – I stick with what works best for me. I loved the Marilyn Monroe era; the fashion was so feminine and flattering to women’s bodies.

Why did you decide to become a Miss SA judge?

When I was asked by Cell C and Sun international if I’d be interested, I said: “Why are you asking?” They said they knew I love beauty and dressing up; I love women driven by passion. And most importantly, they know that I approve of the fact that Miss SA highlights beauty with a purpose. I’m perfect for this job. I can spot a young woman capable of making a difference from a mile away. sophie-ndaba

Do you like pageants? What other beauty pageants do you follow?

I have loved them since I was a teenager. I have entered a number of them myself, which was to mainly to boost my self-confidence. I was a very shy girl. Later, of course, I moved into acting. I follow Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss SA – my favourite title-holders have been Anneline Kriel, Suzette van der Merwe, Jacqui Mofokeng, Peggy Sue Kumalo and Basetsana Kumalo. Just look at these amazing women and where being Miss SA has got them!

How do you think modern entrants have changed? Remember when all the girls wanted world peace?

Modern entrants are becoming more and more themselves. They know who they are, they know what they want. I’m amazed by how “in their skin” the young women who enter Miss SA are!

What do you look for in the entrants?

Passion, a willingness to work hard, healthy competitive spirit, ambition, beauty inside and out… You cannot be a South African ambassador if you don’t love this country and its people with their various cultures and traditions. And, if you are not familiar with the different cultures, you need to be willing to learn.

The concept of nudity has changed so much in recent times. We see celebrities on red carpets who are practically naked. Has this trend softened the criticism usually levelled at the swimsuit segment of the completion?

I always say to anyone who has a problem with the swimsuit segment that they should never set foot on a beach or go to a public pool. There is no nudity; the girls are in swimsuits. And really, it’s five minutes of the entire pageant. Anyway, we’re in Africa and see topless, scantily clad young girls at reed dances. Because this is culturally acceptable, we hold our criticism.

Who do you think epitomises beauty? Who’s your most beautiful woman ever?

Sophia Loren and Winnie Madikizela Mandela – both women have timeless beauty. I also love Iman because she is effortlessly beautiful.