For Miss Teenager SA finalists Lunathi Jaceeni and Sarah-Jayne Johnson, it was a love of helping the community that first got them involved in pageantry.
“The biggest reason [I take part in pageants] is I want to empower the children of the Eastern Cape,” Jaceeni said.
“They have this idea that it is only people from Joburg or Cape Town who can make it. I wanted to show them that it all starts in the mind, that it doesn’t matter what your background is.”
Johnson had a similar story.
“It’s my love for outreach, basically,” she said.
“I did my first outreach project in Grade 8 for Guardians of Hope, and that is where I found my love for outreach.”
Johnson said taking part in pageants allowed her to combine her love of modelling with her love of helping the community.
Both Jaceeni and Johnson have been taking part in pageants for a number of years.
Johnson was crowned First Princess in the 2018 Miss Eastern Cape Beauty With A Purpose pageant while Jaceeni was a finalist in 2019’s Miss KWT competition.
Jaceeni said she primarily aims to give back to her community through Care Nation, an organisation she founded three years ago and which operates in Qonce and the surrounding areas.
She distributes sanitary towels, uniforms and stationery to school children and provides motivational talks.
“I’m trying to change the norm that says ‘boys don’t cry’,” she said.
“I want to show the boys that they are able to cry, and I help create a room where they can be vulnerable.”
She also does outreach with elderly residents in her area where she helps teach them how to live healthier lifestyles.
As brand ambassador for PnA Stationers, Johnson has been involved in a number of charity and outreach projects with organisations such as Guardians of Hope, the Choc Foundation and Canaan Care Centre.
“For Choc, we did a little dance for them, we brought them Easter Eggs and we collected a bunch of toys,” she said.
“It’s about giving back.”
The young models said that taking part in Miss Teenager SA had taught them both a lot and they were excited for the upcoming finals, which take place from May 7 to 9.
“I’m excited to meet everyone and getting to know [the participants],” Johnson said.
“Just the experience, going through everything, meeting new people has been great.”
“I have learned a lot, so many doors have opened,” said Jaceeni.
“I have found sisters and friends in Miss Teenager.”