SA beauty wins Miss Plus World pageant
Dipolelo Hou of Bloemfontein has set a record as the first South African woman to win the Miss Plus World pageant.
The pageant was held in Atlanta, US, at the weekend.
Hou, a personal assistant to Free State MEC for sport, arts, culture and recreation Mathabo Leeto, dedicated the award to her country.
"I am very happy to announce that I am the winner of the 2018/19 Miss Plus World and the first South African woman to ever win it. In a year when we honour President Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu, I could not be more proud of this achievement," she told Sowetan.
Hou, who hails from Botshabelo, a township east of the provincial capital, saw off competition by 14 other contestants, including those from Nigeria, Italy and Finland
She also won the Miss Photogenic Award and Best Pantwear Award on the same night.
"I was up against incredibly beautiful and smart women and I am happy that I emerged victorious. I thank God.
"I also thank my family, friends and colleagues for their support throughout."
Hers has not been an easy journey. As a child, Hou was often mocked by her friends for being scrawny. However, the taunts did not deter her from realising her dream of strutting her stuff on international catwalks.
She won many titles from primary school days and then gained weight after the birth of her son in 2009. Hou has certainly bounced back to the top as a beauty queen.