From scrubs to the crown: Adè van Heerden takes over as Miss SA
The first princess in this year's pageant says that she's ready to dedicate all her time to the responsibilities of being Miss SA.
JOHANNESBURG - A week ago, Adè van Heerden was going about her daily routine as a medical doctor and lieutenant at Military 2 Hospital in Cape Town.
Van Heerden will now have to pack her scrubs away and trade them for beautiful designer gowns, a sash and the Miss South Africa crown. As the first princess in this year's Miss South Africa competition, she now takes over from Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters who was crowned Miss Universe this past Sunday.
She tells Eyewitness News that she and Nel-Peters share a close sisterly bond and that she, like South Africans who watched the Miss Universe pageant on Sunday, was rooting for her to win the crown.
The moment Steve Harvey called out South Africa as the winner, was the moment Van Heerden's life changed.
"I was visiting my parents’ home and was lying in the same bed I've had since childhood at 2am watching Miss Universe. I unofficially became Miss South Africa in that very bed. That will always be a sacred moment to me and proof that you can make your dreams a reality if you work hard."
The enormity of it all, however, took a while to sink in.
"It only truly hit me when the previous Miss South Africas welcomed me to the sisterhood with open arms. In that moment, I realised that I now have the responsibility to continue the Miss South Africa legacy. It's a legacy that leads women of all cultures, spreads love and unites South Africans," she says.
Van Heerden had a shot at an international title earlier this year when she competed in the Miss World pageant. She made it as far as the top 10 but unfortunately didn't win the coveted crown. In her case, missing out on that title is a testament to the old saying, "when one door closes, another opens".
Assuming her duties means Van Heerden will have to put her community service as a medical doctor on hold to dedicate all her time to her new role, but the title will allow her to still pursue activities in line with what she's passionate about - positively impacting the lives of others.
"I look forward to growing the Miss South Africa brand and working with the class of 2018. I believe that it is important to invest your time and share as much knowledge as possible with the youth. During my time as first princess, I dedicated myself to teaching young women about their bodies, self-love, making healthy choices and self-belief. I hope to continue to do so. I will also continue building on the work that Demi-Leigh has done so far. My mission is to be of service to my country in whatever way needed."