Tamaryn Green wears crown with pride

Tamaryn Green
Tamaryn Green

Tamaryn Green is pure gold.

With no airs and graces, she makes it crystal clear that she is not privileged in any way. "I have worked twice as hard to be where I am today," says the medical student.

The 23-year-old, who was crowned the 60th winner of the Miss SA pageant, says she genuinely entered the contest to be in a position to bring change to SA.

"It was a 'beauty' pageant way back. Not anymore. My goal is to inspire and educate and I want to be a role model.

"I want to use my skills to help especially children who are underprivileged. I want to help women who like myself are victimised because they look a certain way.

"Yes, I am aware that I'm beautiful and I am not apologetic about it. Everybody is beautiful. But, because I have long hair and I speak English, I was often looked down upon by many girls my age. It was as if I was privileged because I spoke English and because I'm 'pretty'. I was seen as that girl who wants their boyfriends - but the boys were approaching me.

"I was teased about my height . But I rose above it all by developing a close relationship with God and not being nasty to anyone. I want to tell women in the same position that it's okay to be different and to excel. We are all made in his image with our own unique strengths," she says.

We have been led to believe the reigning queen is not allowed to have a boyfriend during her reign. While past winners avoided this question, Green says she has a partner but he understands that this is her job now and he has to wait. "He understands I need to represent my country. We spoke about me winning and if we are meant to be together at the end of it all, we will."

The outspoken young woman was born in Worcester, but spent most of her childhood years in Paarl, where her family still reside. Both her parents are in the education sector, her dad a curriculum adviser and her mother a teacher.

"He (father) is my rock. We're alike in so many ways and whenever I need advice I go to him. He's my role model who taught me about his life and his struggles during apartheid. My mother is the beautiful one, the shy one who keeps the family together. She doesn't speak too much like I do."

She says she never suffered from middle child syndrome as she and her siblings support each other tremendously.

"Shame, my dad will probably never retire as he has my brother to put through university still. My sister is a physiotherapist. My parents taught us to work hard and not rely on handouts. I've had to study through loans and bursaries and their sweat. But growing up under these circumstances have made all three of us independent and strong individuals."

Her first taste of wearing a crown was winning the Miss Orleans title in high school. She also held the deputy head girl and head girl titles at both primary and high school and says on recent visits, her teachers reminded her how she was destined to feature in Miss SA - saying she had "that thing".

But she decided to give it a go at the last minute. With only six months left to finish the first stage of her medical degree, she applied for special leave from her 6th-year studies at the University of Cape Town.

"It was a gut feeling. The day before the Cape Town regionals is when I finally entered. It was as if God spoke to me that now was the right time."

Although she's not shocked that she won, she was shocked by her community.

"Paarl has distinct coloured and white areas. But [that] they came together and supported me is amazing. Die Gees was daar [the spirit was present] like I've never seen before."

Green says she panicked when she answered the first question after making it to the top 5. "I enjoy public speaking and relatively do well at impromptu topics. But I realise with that first question I answered too quickly. I went backstage and gave myself a pep talk to first listen attentively, to speak clearly and answer with complete honesty. I told myself it's not about impressing anyone but to be myself."

She never imagined winning the overall title. "I honestly thought I'd get the Miss [SA] World as a runer up title, but look at God."

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