1990 CHERYL KENNARD
ENGLISH rose Cheryl Kennard won the Miss Port Elizabeth pageant in 1990 and went on to model for several years before catching the acting bug and settling in Los Angeles.
"You’ve probably seen my butt in Baywatch!” she told The Herald in 2000 on a trip back to her home city, and since then also has appeared in American television series such as Friends and Melrose Place.
One of her Miss PE achievements was helping the city to raise more than R115000 for Red Nose Day, a huge amount at the time.
1991 VANESSA PRINGLE
VANESSA Bowes, née Pringle, felt Miss Port Elizabeth opened up opportunities and encouraged her to take on new ventures.
"The most memorable experience of my year was a stunning trip to Vienna and Saltzburg in Austria,” she said.
”I learned to embrace the audience through public speaking at various functions, modelling in front of an audience at fashion shows and having fun with the camera improved my confidence levels.”
Job interviews became so much easier with her newfound self-esteem.
"I always thought ‘weight’ and ‘good looks’ topped the scales of beauty pageants, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover it is more a ‘breath of fresh air’ and a ‘sense of humour’ that often takes the cake.”
Originally from Grahamstown, Bowes worked as public relations assistant to the marketing director of St Andrews College, DSG and St Andrews Prep, in the City of Saints.
"I married Mark Russell Bowes in 1994 and am blessed with two wonderful children – Caitlin, 15, and Callum, 12,” Bowes said.
Today she is personal manager to the head of the Village Consulting Group, which specialises in strategy, organisational restructuring, leadership development and executive coaching.
1992 LAUREN HARPER
MISS Port Elizabeth 1992 Lauren Demetriou (née Harper) married a fellow model, Andrew Demetriou, in 1995, and later moved to Cape Town.
The Rhodes University journalism graduate said at the time of her win that Miss Port Elizabeth was "absolutely phenomenal”.
"The contest taught me such a lot.”
1993 PENNY HAYES
PENNY Berrington née Hayes, was the winner in 1994 when a "new” South Africa dawned.
"During my time as Miss Port Elizabeth, I got to meet great people from all walks of life and attend prestigious functions and events that I wouldn’t have normally.
"My being able to speak Xhosa fluently allowed me to meet people from all walks of life.
"The mayor, Nceba Faku, took me under his wing and I was able to go into the township and interact with people I would not normally have been able to meet at that time.
"I grew personally from this experience and I will always treasure the opportunity.
"I am generally not a supporter of beauty pageants, but can honestly say the Miss Port Elizabeth [pageant] was a genuine experience of goodwill, pride and glamour.”
She said her all-expenses paid trip to Austria and Italy was a highlight. Today Berrington still lives in Port Elizabeth.
"I have two wonderful children, my daughter, Rebecca, 16, and son, Jordan, 11. Together with being a mother, I have worked full time as a music and Xhosa teacher at Pearson High School, Woodridge College and Preparatory and am presently teaching at Lawson Brown High School.”
1994 CAROL WHITEHEAD
CAROL Whitehead, who won the title in 1994, went on to win the Miss Eastern Cape competition, and to be a regional winner for Miss South Africa.
She won a trip to Thailand as part of her prize – but for Whitehead one undisputed highlight of her year’s reign was the chance to meet former president Nelson Mandela, when he visited Port Elizabeth and was a guest at The Herald’s 150th anniversary civic reception.
1995 BEVERLY STRYDOM
BEVERLY Strydom found "every single day” of her year in 1995 memorable.
"The warmth and acceptance I received as ambassador was amazing and gave me strength to be the best I can be. It gave me a platform for people to listen to my cause and truly gave me the opportunity to use my voice on behalf of those who weren’t heard,” she said.
"Now that I’m older I can still talk a hind leg off a donkey, they just have to listen!”
She said it was hard to assess the success of one’s year.
"I was so busy trying to make a difference I didn’t really know how I was doing. However, it was most rewarding when complete strangers validated my role as ambassador for the city then, and for many years thereafter.”
Bubbly Strydom is committed to her career as an IT sales professional at Gijima, where she has worked since the early 1990s.
"Unfortunately I missed the early calling of becoming a wife and mother but am blessed with being a partner to Gary and an ‘aunty Bev’ to his precious daughter, Megan,” she said.
"I’ve turned 41 this year and still enjoy the outdoors, hiking, cycling and I started running 10km races last year. I am looking forward to my trip to Thailand in July and yes, you guessed it, I have drawn up a ‘bucket list’ which I intend with God’s blessing to achieve.
"I wouldn’t be me if I don’t use this platform to say to PE: ‘be proud of your investment in this city as each one of us are stakeholders. Live to help those less fortunate, live for service delivery and service excellence’.
"’Be the best you can be and reach for the stars!’”
1996 YOLISA KANI
CIVIL engineering graduate Yolisa Kani was due to take a prize trip to Morocco in 1996, but eventually ended up travelling to Club Med in Turkey nearly two years later instead.
Spec-Savers held its annual congress in Turkey that year, and lucky Kani was a guest of honour.
Yolisa was also a finalist in Miss South Africa in 1997, and went on to organise Miss Umhlobo Wenene FM, another contest aimed at catapulting beautiful women into the spotlight.
1998 BRITTA VAN DER HOEK
BRITTA Booth (née Van der Hoek) was the youngest Miss Port Elizabeth and in matric at Riebeek College in Uitenhage when she won the title in 1998.
NMMU computer science graduate Booth returned to South Africa last year after eight years living and working in Europe, where London was her base.
"I got married in 2009 and when our baby boy was born in January last year, we decided to return to South Africa and we haven’t looked back since!” said Booth.
She said the Miss Port Elizabeth title gave her the opportunity to attend many events.
"I was very young, only 18, so on a personal level, being Miss PE afforded me a rare ‘debutante’ opportunity that formed a little bit of who I am and taught me about the workings of the world around me in the process,” she said.
"I remember a prize-giving at a young adult training centre leaving me with the realisation that I could positively influence people’s lives, even if just in the smallest way, in a fleeting moment.”
Booth represented Eastern Cape in Miss South Africa in 1999 at Sun City. It was "a heady experience [but] I did not understand how to fully grasp the opportunities that opened up to me at the time”, she said.
In subsequent years, particularly in the corporate workplace, "I’ve found myself defending the notion that pageants are about selecting a representative role model from community, if approached with ethical intentions in mind.”
1999 KIM DANOHER
GLOBE-TROTTIONG Kim Danoher, now a qualified yoga instructor, has fond memories of her year in 1999.
"There are an enormous number of memorable moments and many friends I still have from that time – working with kids and charities, motivational talks to schools, hosting radio shows, judging countless competitions, really seeing and understanding how much goodwill and generosity is present in the Port Elizabeth community,” she said.
"A most precious moment was a small project I organised where three schools took part to make and deliver handmade cards to old age home residents for Valentine’s Day. I kept a few cards and when I read them and remember the kids singing and how meaningful it was for the home residents, it easily brings tears.”
She said Port Elizabeth was small enough for "everyone to recognise you from being in The Herald”.
"It opened doors to gaining valuable experience and meeting a wide range of people. You become a brand for that year.
"The fact that my diary was still fully booked with charity and promotional events four months after my reign ended makes me think that I continued to have something worth contributing.
"Being approachable was important, and that often meant proactively going out of your way to break the ice and show that you were nothing more than a normal person, just like everyone else.
Since 1999, then, Danoher has lived in London for four years, travelled extensively, returned to South Africa – and her home city for two years and now is living in Dubai where she is studying acrobatic yoga teaching.
2000 CHERYL-ANN LEE
CHERYL-ANN Lee Klare now lives in Johannesburg but has great memories of her year in 2000, such as officiating at the opening of the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment Complex, which to this day has remained a sponsor of the competition.
"I have fond memories of hosting 50 children from the EP Children’s Home for a day of fun at the circus, a blanket distribution to hundreds of TB patients, my awesome prize of a seven-day holiday in the Comores, the beautiful dresses I wore all year from Heinz-in-Style and jewellery from Francarlo.
"But I suppose the one memory that will remain is the elation of hearing your name being called out as The Herald Spec-Savers Miss PE 2000, the millennium year!”
She said the title gave her valuable exposure to business people "at the top of their game” as well as the opportunity to network "at a multitude of events”.
Just three years after winning, and with a BCom in marketing and business management, she started her own business, Spearhead Marketing and Design, in 2003.
Klare ran the business until 2010 when she moved to Johannesburg.
"That was largely due to being able to call upon the many contacts and friends made during the year of reign.”
She is married to Gary Klare and has a daughter, Grace, eight, and step-daughters Abby-Gail, 11, and Rebecka, eight.
She challenged the assumption that beauty competitions meant "you are just a pretty face and nothing more”.
"The only way to work around this is to get out there and show people that ‘looking the part’ is only a small fraction of what you have to offer.”
2001 CANDICE GOLIATH
CANDICE Goliath matriculated from Collegiate High School, and won Miss Port Elizabeth in 2001. She lives in Cape Town and works for Absa.
2002 KATLEGO MASHISHI
KATLEGO Kondlo (née Mashishi) was one of only a few The Herald Spec-Savers Miss Port Elizabeth winners who studied in the city but who have roots elsewhere.
Mashishi was born and bred in Pretoria.
Since her win in 2002, Mashishi has moved back to Gauteng and now works as an industrial engineer at Dulux Paints.
She is married to Unathi Kondlo and the couple have a baby girl.
2003 LORIN BARNES
EAST London-born Lorin Barnes spent her student years at NMMU in Port Elizabeth and now works in film and television production in Cape Town. She acted in a surf film two years ago, which opened other doors for her career.
She found it hard to single out one special moment: "riding elephants in the Pilanesburg, paragliding behind a boat at the Lost City and zip-lining above the tree tops in the Tsitsikamma” were a few.
"There were those simple, precious, interpersonal moments of connecting with people who would have never crossed my path if it weren’t for Miss PE, that I will always hold dearest,” she said.
She said it opened up opportunities.
"The week after I handed over the crown, I received a call from Red Bull, one of the Miss PE partners, offering me part-time work [as I was still studying]. This was ultimately the first stepping stone to achieving my dream of working in eventing in Cape Town.”
She worked for Red Bull for five years, relishing the world of marketing, event production and athlete management.
"In 2010, I kicked off my freelance film/TV production career on Blue Crush 2, which led me to being invited to produce a surf/reality TV project in Puerto Rico and New York. "Most recently, I’ve predominantly been working on international TV commercials.”
2004 NICOLA WOOD
NICOLA Enslin (née Wood) is a regular visitor to the Friendly City, and lived here briefly before returning to Johannesburg with her husband and baby girl to take up a new job as an account manager two months ago.
"The whole year was a memorable experience. Each function was different and meeting so many diverse and wonderful people from the kids from Reach for a Dream to members of the Rotary Club made it a year I will always treasure,” said Enslin.
"Being crowned Miss PE presented many opportunities but also gave me more insight into the beauty of the city and the people who live in it. I enjoyed every single moment: the happy times, the challenging times and trying to keep a balanced lifestyle while meeting new faces.
"I think the biggest misconception about beauty pageants is that they are perceived to be a platform promoting beauty and not brains.
"It’s very disconcerting to see how the stature of beauty pageants has declined over the years, from what I remember as a little girl watching Miss SA on TV.”
2005 VALENE SAMPSON
2006 CHUMA MYOLI
THE bubbly winner in 2005 is a full-time model in Cape Town,
"And at the end of June I’ll be a qualified yoga teacher!” said Sampson, who has been working towards a yoga teacher training course.
"I had a very fun year, but my most memorable experience was when I got my community and sponsors involved to raise funds for Zoë Harris.”
Baby Zoë had a liver transplant at Red Cross Hospital in 2006 and has stayed close to Sampson’s heart.
"I decided to be a beauty with a purpose, serving my city, uplifting my community and being a student all at the same time.”
Since leaving the city, Sampson’s winning smile has graced countless advertising campaigns. She also ran a modelling school in Port Elizabeth.
"I’ve been modelling in Cape Town doing the Brutal Fruit, LE Sell campaigns and I’m the face of Charlie Revlon cosmetics.”
She also has been travelling to Europe, with a recent trip to Italy and the UK.
CHUMA Myoli was the first Miss Port Elizabeth to be connected to one charity for a whole year, raising funds and awareness for the House of Resurrection Aids Haven in Salsoneville.
"I had a serious KPI [key performance indicator] to meet and with the help of my sponsors, I met it by managing to raise R70000 for my chosen charity.
"My most memorable experience was meeting the kids from the haven, in particular, a brave strong little boy called ‘Peanut’ whose positive attitude taught me that there are no guarantees in life. When bad things happen to good people, you just have to pick yourself up and move on,” Myoli said.
"Meeting Sister Ethel Normoyle, who I consider to be my sister, friend and one of my role models, has also become one of my fondest memories.”
Myoli is engaged to fiancé Msingathi Sipuka.
"I have always considered Miss PE not as a beauty pageant but rather, a job or internship. All of the Miss PEs I have met, including the current Miss PE, are friendly, driven, intelligent and beautiful ladies inside and out who love life.
"Myself and Miss PE 2005, Valene Sampson, organised the Greenacres Fashion Week event in 2008 and I organised the event again in 2009.
"I really enjoy helping others and I am proud to serve on the executive mayor’s education task team and the Missionvale Care Centre board of trustees. I have also groomed my public speaking skills as a professional MC and I host a Saturday morning breakfast show on radio IFM. I am also so grateful to be one of the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber of Commerce Top 40 under 40 achievers last year.”
2007 CLAUDIA BERGHAHN
CANDIDATE attorney Claudia Berghahn used her title to the full in 2007, as she also was part of The Herald Holiday Hotline team that year.
"Some days were difficult to manage, juggling work, self-study at Unisa and fulfilling my Miss PE functions, but those days were few and far between. A bit of time management and all the pieces fitted together!” Berghahn said.
The Holiday Hotline was one highlight, as were "a number of extreme events, meeting a few local celebs, raising money for charities and good causes and having a good time doing it”.
"I remember the wheelchair race where I pushed a sick child for 5km along the beachfront in my sash and gown and we decided to stop for an ice cream mid-race. We didn’t win but we laughed and giggled a lot.
"Many people were surprised to hear that I had some depth and other interests. They didn’t think that I could get ‘down and dirty’ and go rock climbing, surfing, play paint ball and test out the new Hummer on the obstacle course.
"People seemed to think that a young blonde beauty queen probably just sat in front of a mirror applying makeup! I was glad to prove them wrong and show that Miss PE was not a beauty pageant where we parrot-fashion learned answers to possible questions.
"I think my favourite memory by far was when I attended the Christmas function at Aurora Special Care Centre and I played Christmas carols on the piano and let the children join in and make up their own words to Jingle Bells.
"It was just something that I enjoyed a lot, one wonderful afternoon with children.”
2008 NONO GALI
MISS Port Elizabeth 2008 Nono Gali feels the title lives on for former winners.
"People still come up to me today and ask me for advice or to assist them. That alone proves the impact of the year I spent as Miss Port Elizabeth,” said Gali, who publicised the work that Khayalethu Youth Centre does with street children during her reign.
Her holiday to Dubai from Uniglobe Bay Travel "topped” her exciting year. "It was my first trip overseas and I was treated like a VIP.”
Gali disputed prejudices against pageants: "We are educated and have qualifications. Yes, we like to take care of ourselves and our outer appearance but that does not make us brainless or senseless.”
The IT company account manager lives in Motherwell and is enjoying motherhood.
"Whoa! A lot has happened since Miss PE. I have a beautiful baby boy named Buhle – Buhlebenkosi: ‘God’s Beauty’ – in full.
"I’m probably biased but I’m sure all mothers are: He is too adorable!”
2009 DI-ANNE QOTO
ATTORNEY Di-Anne Qoto works in the litigation department at Boqwana, Loon and Connellan.
"In my year I did things I would not have ‘ordinarily’ done, I met a lot of people through being Miss PE and some of them have become really good friends.
"That year was a blessing.”
She particularly enjoyed her role in establishing a children’s room at Dora Nginza Hospital as part of a Reach for a Dream project.
"So many readers of The Herald took part and it will continue to be something that the kids enjoy for years to come,” she said. "Working with Reach for a Dream gave me new purpose and opened my eyes to the real world and the challenges children face daily with their families.”
Qoto still has a heart for charity:
"I am now involved in a programme called the Nankumntwana Adopt a Learning Child programme where I have ‘adopted’ a child to assist in paying for schooling, stationary as well as extramural activities.
"The only way that we as a society can put an end to the tragedy of poverty which seems to grow each day, is for us all to invest in the education of our children – especially from underprivileged backgrounds who, but for their circumstances, have what it takes to make a success of their lives.
”This restores the dignity of the parent as often one’s value a in the eyes of one’s child is negatively affected when one fails to properly provide the necessities one’s child requires. My participation therefore is in partnership with them.”
2010 BIANCA HARPER
ALTHOUGH Bianca-Anne Harper is doing her community service as a pharmacist in East London, she will be returning to her home city next year.
"I had the wonderful opportunity to be Miss PE during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and received a personalised Bafana Bafana soccer T-shirt from our mayor, Zanoxolo Wayile. I taught the ‘diski dance’ to many children at Missionvale Care Centre, my chosen charity, under the leadership of Sister Ethel and I worked with courageous people within charities, schools, companies and organisations.
"Gracing all the posh soccer-related functions and receiving complimentary VIP tickets to watch Germany play Uruguay at our beautiful Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium was awesome.
"Social events such as The Herald Citizen of the Year awards and Northern Areas Musical Awards attested to the welcoming spirit of the people of Port Elizabeth. I grew as an individual in my year.
"Becoming Miss PE has shown me how an individual can bring change by just opening up their heart and lending a helping hand and a listening ear. It has now become my second nature to do the above.
"I still get asked to do motivational talks, judge modelling and talent shows and get invited to high teas.
"Many still approach me to be part of their events or organisations. This makes me feel that I have made an impression in some lives and that I will continue to do so as life unfolds.”
In the brief time since she held the title, Harper has visited Spain with her church youth group and graduated with her masters degree in pharmacy.
"I would like to work in the government health sector and become involved within the HIV/Aids division, helping those patients in our city!"