I spent over N$300 000 for Miss Namibia pageant, says Esterhuisen
Paheja Siririka & Aletta Shikololo
WINDHOEK – Former Miss Namibia 2016 Lizelle Esterhuisen recalls the discouraging ordeal she endured including spending more than N$300 000 out of her own pocket while bearing the title of Miss Namibia.
“During my year of reign my parents had to spend more than N$300 000 out of their own pockets for official work related to Miss Namibia and participating in the Miss Universe pageant,” said Esterhuisen in an exclusive interview with New Era.
There are also traumatic experiences she went through after winning the title. Esterhuisen added that an emotional type of abuse was always present in her year as Miss Namibia 2016.
“I was constantly told I had to lose weight by the organisers, especially because I’m an athletically built lady,” expressed Esterhuisen. She outlined that during her year of reign, negative talk was a big factor to her. “I remember instances where after doing press briefings or public appearances, the Miss Namibia organisers would call me to vent out frustration on how awful I looked on camera and how dreaded my lipstick was, commenting on my arms and so forth, ” she said. She highlighted the importance of support the organisers should have towards the reigning Miss Namibia.
“I can honestly say the only support that I got was from my parents, whether it was emotional, financial or in a physical way,” she said. At the age of 20, Esterhuisen had to go to great lengths to travel alone without anyone from the pageant accompanying her, which is why she resorted to taking her mother with. In terms of sponsorship, Esterhuisen says with a lot of sponsors giving things to Miss Namibia, she did not receive any money from the organisers to represent the country.
“Miss Namibia was a bad year for me, it wasn’t all glitz and glamour,” added Esterhuisen.
She stated that she just had to put her best foot forward because she was the global ambassador of the country. “As Miss Namibia 2016, I can say that title isn’t a privilege anymore, it’s a disgrace,” she said.
Esterhuisen was proud of the big move by the current Miss Namibia to come forward about the pageant and pledged her support and guaranteed that former title holders will also do the same.
Speaking to New Era former Miss Namibia 2015, Steffi van Wyk-Brink, currently based in South Africa, concurred about the pageant. “It was exactly the same,” said Van Wyk-Brink referring to how the year of her reign was.
Van Wyk-Brink said she didn’t want to speak up because her tenure had come to an end. “After everything was over, I didn’t want anything to do with the pageant ever again,” she said.
She concluded the conversation by stating she was pleased with Miss Namibia 2018 Selma Kamanya coming forward with her story. “I’m so super proud of her for doing what she did, that takes strength and courage,” she said.
Sharing to same sentiments were four former Miss Namibians who preferred not to be named for personal reasons. “The Miss Namibia Pageant is a money-making scheme,” said one former Miss Namibia. The pageant seems to be a bully to some former contestants. “Some of us had to be rebels with certain things the organisers were imposing on us and that’s why we have been excluded from events related to Miss Namibia of recent,” said another former title holder.
The confession of Esterhuisen and other former title holders comes in light of Miss Namibia 2018 Selma Kamanya coming out with guns blazing at the organisers of the Miss Namibia Beauty Pageant for the way she was treated during the year of her reign. In an open letter, Kamanya highlighted positive and negative aspects which include financial related matters and emotional abuse she had suffered at the helm of the organisers. She pledged to New Era newspaper all is factual. “I do confirm everything you are reading on social media is true and I wrote that,” she said.
Pageant national director Conni Maritz and media administrator Hanneli Mostert told New Era they were aware of Selma Kamanya’s revelations and what she said about the pageant but refused to comment on the matter.
“I’m aware of it but I have no comment,” said Maritz before hanging up the phone on a New Era reporter.
New Era Reporter
2019-06-27 09:10:53 | 11 months ago