Miss SA top-10 finalist Catherine Groenewald, of Constantia, says she hopes to use the pageant to raise awareness about mental health.
This is the third time that the 23-year-old graphic-design student is taking a shot at the crown.
Catherine entered Miss SA in 2019 and made it to the top 30. “Not making it was very tough,” she says. “I bounced back from it by realising that I needed to grow more and that I didn’t fully know who I was yet. I worked hard and tried again in 2020 and got nowhere.”
When she heard, on Thursday August 5, that she had made it into this year’s top 10, she was tearful but thankful. “I was at Bootleggers with a friend in Green Point and it was one of the best moments of my life. When you’re rejected and then you are accepted the satisfaction is overwhelming,” she says.
The strawberry blonde splits her time between studying in Salt River, working as a barre fitness instructor in town and modelling. She says that as a child attending Springfield Convent School she dreamt of being a leader with a voice that would inspire.
Her desire to speak out about mental-health awareness, she says, comes from her own battle with depression.
“One of the biggest problems facing young people today is the stigma around mental health. Our brains control absolutely everything we do so we need to look after them in order to make the right decisions. We have to listen and make people feel seen and understood.”
In her spare time, she loves walking through Constantia vineyards with her mom, Helga, followed by coffee at Foxcroft at High Constantia.
When the pandemic came along, she looked for an artistic outlet, which led to signing up for a three-hour icing course. Two weeks later, she turned her creative appetite into a business by opening an online confectionery store.
Maxhosa is her favourite designer “for his cool traditional African designs”, she says, adding: “As for international, I would choose Zara.”
Her guilty pleasure, she confesses, is lying in bed, watching YouTube and eating a tub of salted caramel ice cream.
Catherine says she knows she has the ability to help and inspire many women and winning Miss SA will help her do just that.
Meanwhile she is now preparing for the final. There’s training, teeth whitening, waxing and threading. But it’s not just about the physical. “We also have to understand what’s happening in the country, the world,” she laughs.
Miss South Africa 2021will be crowned at Grand West Arena on Saturday October 16, at 5pm. The pageant will be broadcast live on M-Net (DStv 101) and Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) and live-streamed on the My DStv app.
The top-three will go on to represent the country at Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Supranational.