Entries for the Miss South Africa 2021, who will take over the reigns from Limpopo beauty queen Shudufhadzo Musida, have closed.

The popular competition, that won people’s hearts over this year when it was announced that transgender women were now eligible to enter, has announced the four judges who will pick the top 30 contestants to advance to the next round. These judges will be former title holders, who will also offer sage advice for those wanting the crown.

According to the organisation, the judges were reviewing entry forms and videos ahead of the reveal on Tuesday, 6 July.

The four judges are Bokang Montjane-Tshabalala, Liesl Laurie, Melinda Bam and Tamaryn Green.

Speaking to Daily Sun, organisation CEO Stephanie Weil said there was no one better to pick the top 30 than former title holders.

“Who better to pick the top 30 than former title holders who have walked in the shoes of this year’s entrants? They will be able to bring out the best in each candidate while giving pertinent advice. They know what qualities a potential Miss South Africa needs to possess in order to represent the country on international stages,” she said.

Laurie, who held the title in 2015, said her priority was to make them feel comfortable.

“I have been there and sat in the chair, and I know how nervous one can get. Seeing those amazing women at the other side of the table (or in the time of Covid-19, a computer screen) can make you forget everything, including your own name! It is one of the biggest interviews of their lives because they are interviewing for a job as an ambassador for South Africa. My priority is to make them feel comfortable and at ease so they present the best version of themselves.”

Bam, who held the title in 2011, said she was looking for someone who was aware of social and global issues that face our generation.

“I have seen first-hand, from entry to reign, what qualities distinguish the winners from other contestants. I also appreciate what new efforts and perspectives are needed to have a reign that is authentic and relevant to South Africa. I am looking for someone who is well aware of the social and global issues that face this generation. I am also looking for someone who is direct, yet diplomatic; who can navigate these issues with superior emotional intelligence, and is able to speak to corporate SA while also being a familiar and comforting face to our communities.”

Green, who held the title in 2018, advised the entrants to always be their authentic self.

The Miss South Africa competition has definitely evolved and become more modern and inclusive of all women. This partly has to do with the new owners of the pageant. The new team has really embraced change. There is now a larger focus on the woman as a whole, the skills she has and what she stands for, and not just her outer beauty.”

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