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Local beauty queen on the road to slam stereotypes

STELLENBOSCH – Vivacious, passionate and loyal.

This is how Nicole Wilmans from Stellenbosch, one of the top 35 finalists of the 2020 Miss South Africa beauty pageant, describes herself.

The 25-year-old fashion design graduate from the Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion Design, who’s currently completing her honours degree, is ecstatic to be in the top 35 and knows it’s still a long way to go, but she is positive.

Should she be crowned Miss SA, Wilmans wants to break the stigmas surrounding non-conformance with what society deems beautiful, ideas she wishes to challenge. “I want to encourage and show young and old across our nation that how society sees them should not define them,” she relates.

“Being a model and being seen as short in this industry doesn’t define me. What defines me is my ability to rise above, my willingness to help others, my tenacity and, most importantly, my generous heart. Being from the fashion and clothing industry, I would also love to bring to the attention of consumers that the fashion industry is the second highest polluter of the environment after the oil industry. I would love to educate people on how the consumer culture is affecting the environment negatively and helping a little goes a long way.”

The national lockdown, brought about to stem the spread of Covid-19, has a combination of positives and negatives. “I choose to look at the positives and be grateful I have been safe and secure during the lockdown, and I have dedicated this time to growing and rejuvenating my mind, body and soul.”

Miss SA 2004 Claudia Henkel was her inspiration to enter the pageant. “I was 10 years old when I met her at a school entrepreneurship day and the moment I reached the front of the line to get her autograph my life changed forever. That was the moment my dream of becoming Miss SA was ignited and I feel privileged to be here today, actively pursuing my dream. Her aura was so inspiring; she left me speechless with a dream in my heart.”

In her free time Wilmans loves communing with nature through hiking, camping and exploring. “Nature brings me so much joy and makes me grounded and appreciative. I also enjoy sewing and being creative in my spare time, and since the lockdown I have found a new love for DIY and making old things new again.”

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