Former Miss SA Teen 2011 Celeste Khumalo's graduation at Varsity College yesterday was like a well rehearsed movie script.
The 22-year-old model obtained her BA degree in corporate communications and is pursuing her honours in integrated corporate communication through Unisa, which she is hoping to complete this year. It is the realisation of a plan hatched four years ago.
When Sowetan first interviewed her in 2011, Khumalo was a bubbly 18-year-old in the middle of her matric exams at Parktown Girls High School and a Miss SA Teen hopeful. She had to get special permission to attend the matric ball, two weeks before her triumph in the Miss SA Teen finals.
She was the last teen queen before the pageant was scrapped and funds channelled to Miss SA. To crown it all, she passed her matric with no less than three distinctions but the prospects of going to university looked bleak.
Raised by single mom Nomsa with her little brother in Sandton, Khumalo was determined to confront life's hurdles by entering pageants. Today she is the proud sole owner of Republic Nails, a nail bar in Hatfield, Pretoria.
"I decided on this venture during my final year at varsity to avoid the challenges of unemployment. I learnt about entrepreneurship and how it benefits the economy."
It is a field that she was familiar with, having done a course in nail enhancements in high school to make some pocket money.
"I was able to fund the whole venture myself as well as buy my first car because of various campaigns I was involved with," she said.
She is currently the ambassador of Pond's SA and is in a Woolworths campaign.
Juggling the fields of education, modelling and business and keeping a vibrant social diary has taken a lot discipline.
"I have a fantastic support system of friends and family, as well as mentors who help me keep a level head."