Former Alexandria resident Michelle Sky Hayward has been announced as a Tammy Taylor Mrs South Africa finalist in the top 25 for 2019 from a record number of entries received for the competition.
Hayward, who now lives in Cape Town while her mother and sister still live in Alexandria, has been recently selected as a finalist among another 24 women who are competing for the title for Mrs South Africa.
She was invited, along with other sophisticated married women across the country, for a second national casting and empowerment workshop held at Emperors Palace. Once selected, the semi-finalists then attended a weekend long workshop to help prepare for the journey ahead.
“The Tammy Taylor Mrs South Africa has been really amazing so far,” said Hayward. “The longer I am in the competition the more I realise how life-changing the journey has been, as well as how badly I want the crown! My reason for entering this pageant was to spread a positive message about our beautiful country. With people emigrating at a rapid speed and spreading negative news about South Africa I want to inspire the citizens of this beautiful country to help build a better South Africa.
“With all the deadlines and projects we had to complete it has been a bit of a stressful journey so far. But now that I have made it as a finalist, I realise all the hard work has been worth it and I have gained the willpower and tenacity to work even harder over the next few months.”
In order to make it to judging, contestants had some requirements to fulfil like raising sponsors and selling tickets to the Charity Ball. Once these requirements were met they were allowed to continue to the judging which was made up of swimwear modelling that counted for 30% of the score and a five minute interview with the judges that counted for the remaining 70%.
“The Tammy Taylor Mrs South Africa is not only a beauty pageant, but a female empowerment and entrepreneurship program,” explained Hayward. “Throughout this competition I have felt incredibly empowered and have learnt to empower other women too. I have learnt not to compare myself to others, especially to other women.
“Through raising sponsors and negotiating deals, we have learnt to work hard and to be entrepreneurs. As a finalist, we need to visit schools and communities to do impact recycling projects and, through this, we will learn how to speak in public and to encourage others.
“We also need to host a large fundraiser which will be an amazing opportunity to learn organisation skills and event planning. So far, it has been a lot of work and the workload is increasing as a finalist. It is stressful at times, but it is an amazing life skill in teaching us how to manage stress and prioritise our workload.”
Hayward has learnt she is capable of so much more than she ever thought. Once she feels stretched beyond her limits, there is still more that she can do and can be stretched even further. She says can do anything she sets her mind and has a renewed gratitude for being a South African woman.
BY NTOMBENTSHA MSUTU