The Miss SA Teen will take place at Sun City on Saturday September 26th when the reigning queen, Kopano Mocwane, will hand over her crown. I recently had the priviledge of chatting to Kopano. Her vivacious and energetic personality had me wanting to speak to her for hours Despite her obvious beauty, she is articulate, head strong and radiant. This gifted young woman is going places and I intend to follow her on her journey.
Who is Kopano?
Kopano is a bit of an energy bunny actually! I’m also a workaholic – I love to work. I’m a sports freak and a fashion fundi but basically I always like keeping myself busy. I’m heavy on academics but with the Miss Teen SA title I obviously have a lot on my plate.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background?
I was born and raised in Rustenburg, matriculated last year from Selly Secondary School. I come from a family of five, and have one brother and one sister who are way older than me!
How did you get into modeling and finally enter Miss SA Teen?
My family always wanted me to enter. At first I lost almost every competition but then I found a modelling coach who was also a bit of a life coach and I started winning.
Is this something you have always dreamed of doing?
Yes. At first there was a lot of family pressure, but then when it came to the role of Miss Teen it was everything I wanted. I always knew that by the time I turn 24 or 25, I wanted to be working and I think this has been an ideal platform.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Spare time? I hardly have any! I love to hang out with friends, go on, picnics, bowling, playing games. We often play games we used to played at school when we were 4 years old or something. The rope thing! Haha!
What is your idea of a trendy party ?
Any party… be it for teens or older people takes great company, great music and a great location! I also love theme parties. For my last birthday party I said I wanted to ‘Paint the town Pink’ and I had everyone wear at least one pink thing… even the guys!” she chuckles. “Anything like a Fairytale and so on…I really love that!
Do you get time to read and if so what are you currently reading?
I’ve been trying to read Spud, but every time I pick up the book I have an exam to revise for, or something. I study quite a lot so it’s usually a study book.
How would you describe a typical day in the life of Kopano?
Typical days don’t exist for me anymore; there is always something new and different. The only thing that stays the same is that I am always busy!
Describe the night you were crowned?
Wow! I think about 10 minutes before the show I was a nervous wreck. Then one minute before it started with all the lights and music, a calm came over me. They started announcing the top 5 finalists. For the first girl you clap all nicely, Yay! The second… Yay! When they called my name it was a huge relief! I was very happy. When I answered the questions I was just so nervous. I had to say to myself, Kopano just calm down and be yourself. Then everything happened in slow motion. It was a huge shock, I started crying … overwhelming.
What are the highlights from this past year as Miss SA Teen ?
I think the night of the pageant, getting to meet my role model Basetsana Kumalo. Then Noleen, I was on her show. I also did some charity work. We went to this orphanage and the kids were amazing. Then two tiny kids, they were the tiniest kids ever, they came up to my knee… gave me a carved heart. I had to leave the room because I started to cry. They motivated me not to complain and to live life to the full, that was the best moment ever!
How did the year affect your schoolwork?
I’m a first year student studying Accounting at Varsity College. If I missed a week of lectures they allowed me to have lectures privately. They have helped so much, so it never really affected me so much.
Are you ready to hand over the crown or could you carry on?
I could! Its going to be a true test of my character. I have used the title to propel me forward,… I now have to put myself forward without the title. Without saying I am Miss SA Teen.
Are there any causes that you feel very strongly about ?
I’ve been trying to spread the word that teenagers should not live recklessly! Teenagers are being killed because of drug overdoses, some in car accidents, some drunken driving. I’ve had 10 friends pass away already. My message is, have fun within your boundaries, you’re risking your life and the lives of your friends.
Why do you think SA has such an alarmingly high teen suicide rate?
Teenagers today face so much pressure in terms of sex and drugs, because these things are so accessible. Then theres the problem of self image. Some teenagers feel they don’t live up to what society expects from them and it leads to suicide.
And how do you suggest we can change this?
We need to bridge the gap between those who are in that situation and a role model who has been there, cares and understands. People need to get closer to teenagers, stop talking on such formal terms.
If you could make one change in our rainbow nation, what would it be?
The way people place material things so highly. They don’t see the inner person; they’re too worried about the outer stuff
What advice do you have for Miss SA Teen entrants?
She should think out the box and beyond. She needs to be unique and not worry what others think, especially within her community, eyes can be piercing. She must have a clear vision, focus and stick to it. Very important have someone close to her. I think my mother was my bestest, bestest best friend ever. She helped me to stay true to myself, be a go-getter and go for the challenge.
Advice for the future Miss SA Teen ?
I don’t know how to say it in English… Wa i mamela! Is what we say in Tshwana. Which means ‘Listen to yourself’… by the time you get to the competition be sure of who you are because as a role model you cannot question yourself.
© Bronwen Crew