Miss Universe South Africa, Bryoni Govender has revealed her farewell gown and the national costume she will wear when she represents South Africa at the 72nd Miss Universe pageant which takes place in El Salvador on November 18.
Her national gown – by acclaimed KwaZulu-Natal designer Casey Jeanne – celebrates her Indian South African heritage while also allowing Govender to take centre stage.
Farewell gown revealed
The reveal took place at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club’s Old Oak venue with Govender’s family in attendance, including her father Deven, her mother Shireen and her grandmother, Mangany Govender.
Miss South Africa Organisation’s Creative Director, Werner Wessels, explains that the national costume is of critical importance when it comes to showcasing the country of the pageant contestant and is also one of the favourite events for Miss Universe fans and followers.
“This year’s national costume is an African-Indian fusion and a celebration of Bryoni’s heritage. It was inspired by a sari and is adorned with traditional Zulu beads in a pattern inspired by a Ndebele print,” said Wessels.
An African-Indian fusion
Casey Jeanne, who is based in Morningside, Durban and is designing her first national costume, says she is delighted that the costume isn’t gaudy.
“It’s a modern take on the sari and is quite refined. Green is the main colour, which currently represents South Africa so well. The biggest and most time-consuming challenge has been the beading,”
He added, “We deliberately didn’t want an ostentatious and over-the-top national costume,” says Wessels. “But rather a high-fashion couture version that allows Bryoni to shine.”
One of the country’s leading wedding dress designers
Casey Jeanne, who has previously designed evening wear for the Miss South Africa pageant finale, is known for her couture dresses as well as being one of the country’s leading wedding dress designers: “I am delighted to be able to showcase my work on a platform as large as Miss Universe; it is something I’ve always wanted to do. The national costume took me by surprise as I usually do more evening wear, but I loved the challenge and put my spin on the costume. I hope that South Africans are inspired by it and love it as much as I do.”
Govender, the first woman of Indian heritage to represent the country since Miss South Africa 1997 Kerishnie Naiker, is delighted with the national costume and believes it will allow her to shine on the international stage: “It is an accurate reflection of who I am and represents my rich and diverse cultural heritage. The fabrics, colours and design uniquely tie my two heritages together and I am very comfortable wearing it.”
Govender also unveiled her farewell gown, designed by William de Beer, designer and owner of Willet Designs Couture, who was also responsible for all her pageant gowns including her preliminary outfit and finale gown. De Beer was also responsible for the outfits Miss South Africa 2021, Lalela Mswane wore at the Miss Supranational pageant and he also dressed the finalists in the opening sequence of the 2022 Miss South Africa pageant.
Remaining authentic to who I am
She says that she has been hard at work preparing both physically and mentally for the Miss Universe stage: “I have found myself outside my comfort zone multiple times and I absolutely love it because I have grown immensely. I am committed to continuing the hard work whilst enjoying the entire journey and remaining authentic to who I am. The support I have received from my fellow South Africans has been unwavering and I want to thank them for cheering me on every step of the way.
“I believe in excellence and that is what I am going to do at Miss Universe. I will strive to give the best performance I can, whilst having fun and enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime experience. So get ready to see me wave South Africa’s flag high for the universe to see!”
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Miss South Africa is presented by Weil Entertainment in association with Sun International. SABC3 is the official broadcast partner.
THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN COMPILED BY THE PR AND MEDIA TEAM OF MISS SOUTH AFRICA