Elsies River meisie Timothea Fortuin is a Miss Teenager SA semi-finalist and says she wants to shine a positive light on her community.
The 17-year-old has decided to take a stand against the stigma of poverty and crime attached to her community, to show that beauty and brains can rise from adversity.
“As a young lady growing up in a society where so many social ills were normalised, I’m deciding to stand up against it,” she tells the Daily Voice.
“I’ve always been into modelling, not just for the glitz and glam but for the benefits that come with it such as impact, the influence and inspiration.”
She adds: “Miss Teen South Africa is a national beauty competition that is focused on the empowerment of the young girl – a young girl who has the courage and ability to make a difference in her community and ultimately the whole country.”
Timothea says it wasn’t an easy decision to sign up for the beauty pageant: “Before entering Miss Teen SA, I doubted myself since I’m from the ‘ghetto’, but it doesn’t matter where you come from, all you need is faith in God and an undying passion in what you do and choose to do.”
The Grade 11 Elsies River High pupil says she is focusing on raising awareness about gender-based violence to be the “voice for the voiceless”.
“GBV is a shocking reality for so many women in our communities however both men and women are likely to experience this violence in our societies.
“The stigma around rape victims is very negative and this is why so many people choose stay silent.
“We as a community are able to end the stigma around victim-blaming, but education is needed.
“I am dedicating my time to finding ways to combat this.”
Kayleigh Jephta,19, from Blouberg, is the current Miss Teen SA.
The finals will take place in May 2022, at the Emperor’s Palace in Joburg.