The best & worst dressed celebs at the Miss SA 2019 pageant

Actress Enhle Mbali hosted the red carpet ahead of the 2019 Miss SA grand finale at the Time Square Sun Arena on August 9 in Pretoria.
Actress Enhle Mbali hosted the red carpet ahead of the 2019 Miss SA grand finale at the Time Square Sun Arena on August 9 in Pretoria.
Image: Frennie Shivambu/Gallo Images

Glitz and glamour hit Pretoria hard when troves of the most important (and self-important) celebrities headed to the Times Square Sun Arena for the 2019 Miss South Africa finale on Friday.

Beauty pageant contestants tend to take a lot of flack from fashion critics. If they're not comparing their ill-fitting garbs to 2001 matric dance dresses, they're criticising their lack of taste and blinding use of Swarovski crystals. However, as it was Women's Day, and because of all their hard work, we spared the top 16 finalists from our critiques and turned our gaze to the judges, guests and hosts instead.

Here's who slayed and who dismayed with their outfit choices:

WORST DRESSED

ENHLE MBALI

Hosting a red carpet is a tough gig; you want to shine, but you shouldn't really outshine the person you're interviewing. In this case, Enhle literally outshone her subjects as she blinded them with the sun reflecting off the million mirrors attached to her dress.

We appreciate the actress was trying something different, but when different has no taste attached to it, you end up on our worst dressed list. 

DEMI-LEIGH NEL PETERS

There's a right way and a wrong way to do tulle. This is the wrong way. The former Miss Universe's dress lacked a certain sophistication. It looked a bit like a matric dance dress that had been made by someone's neighbour's tannie who had only briefly looked at a single reference photo for inspiration.

For a mullet-styled dress, the beauty should be in the structured fabric. It's also imperative to get the measurements right. Think actress January Jones' red carpet outfits circa 2010 and 2014. 

January Jones at the 2014 Emmy Awards.
January Jones at the 2014 Emmy Awards.
Image: Christopher Polk/NBC/NBC via Getty Images
Actress January Jones at the 2010 Emmy Awards.
Actress January Jones at the 2010 Emmy Awards.
Image: Dan MacMedan/WireImage

TAMARYN GREEN

We can only imagine the crushing loss of handing over your crown to the new Miss SA but, Tamaryn, did you have to take your devastation out on your outfit? Those were your very last moments as the reigning Miss South Africa and THAT'S what you decided to wear? A muted black-and-gold dress with a tulle skirt that seemed to have been chewed on by a puppy?

BEST DRESSED

TAMARYN GREEN

Yes, yes, we know the former Miss SA just made our worst dressed list. But when the moment came to actually hand over the crown, like an owl whipping its head around, she she did a complete 180 and stunned the audience in possibly the best dress of the evening.

In this dramatic red number, she quite honestly stole the spotlight from the new winner, Zozibini Tunzi. What an exquisite farewell!

ROLENE STRAUSS

Here comes Miss SA royalty to show us how it's done.

We loved how Rolene steered away from the skin-tight dresses and went for something vibrant, indulgent and entirely celebratory instead. Her fresh and flirty fuchsia gown was a welcome contrast to the overly-severe and structured looks that abounded that evening. "I feel like a pink orchid," the celeb said on Instagram.

Anyway, who cares what she's wearing with a smile like hers? She'll always be one of our favourite beauty queens.

BONANG MATHEBA

Hosting the entire gig, Bonang started the evening by channeling Cleopatra in a theatrical gold-and-white gown complete with crown, then changed into another three looks throughout the show: a sunny yellow ensemble, a form-fitting silver number, and finally a sparkly pink ballgown.

When it comes to Queen B, costume changes aren't just about clothes: each one was a complete makeover from head to toe. Each hairstyle complimented each dress and she created a different persona with each look. For that kind of dedication, she deserves a spot on our best dressed list. 

Correction: a previous version of this article incorrectly stated Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters' gown was white.


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