Christel: The real-life princess

Next year Meintjies will also take part in the Little Miss Universe pageant in the United States.

14 May 2019 | People

Michelline Nawatises

Pullqoute: “The biggest challenge I faced was getting words from people about my pageant career; how I overcame it was I believed in myself.” - Christel Meintjies

Christel Meintjies is 14 years old and she started taking part in pageants at the age of nine.

The Miss Elite South Africa (SA) International title holder is grade 9 learner at Schmelenville Combined School, situated in Bethanie in the //Karas Region.

The reason she started competing in pageants was because of her love for modelling, and also because she knew it would give her a platform to make a difference, and be a voice of hope.

She says pageantry has boosted her confidence and bettered her interview skills. It also enables her to meet new people, learn new things and grab opportunities.

Imagining where she will be in ten years is something Christel often thinks about.

“To tell you the truth, it scares me a little to know that in a decade I will be 24 years old, and my years of youth are coming to an end,” she says. One thing she’s certain of is that if God grants her the opportunity to get to that age, she will want to build an orphanage for all the homeless.

Her role model is her mom.

“She is such a good example and inspiration to me. Since my daddy died in 2011 in a car accident, she’s has both mom and dad to me,” she says. Christel says what makes her different from other competitors is definitely her background, which gives her a unique perspective.

When asked by The Zone how she juggles school and pageantry, Christel mentioned that competing in pageants can be a big investment physically, emotionally and financially. She said pageants can take up most of her prime time.

“It happens all at once. This takes a lot of your time and makes you emotionally tired, but I am organised and I always work ahead and make separate time for my school work,” she says.

The ambitious teen also thrives on charity work.

“I cannot mention all my involvement, but the biggest charity activities I have been involved in were renovating the park in my community for the children, visiting an old-age home, as well as hospitals, a cancer ward and an orphanage.”

She donated food, clothing, blankets and toiletries, etc. She has also sponsored two bicycles and two emergency phones for the police in Bethanie.

When she was crowned Miss Elite SA, she felt grateful.

“The feeling was indescribable; I can’t put it into words, but all I know is that it was a day I’ll never forget,’’ she says.

When asked by The Zone if she has any rituals before stepping onto the stage, she said she speaks to the Almighty to calm her. Afterwards she takes a deep breath - in and out - and then slays the ramp.

In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and playing cards.

Her manager, Joanie McKay, mentioned that whenever Christel takes part in an event, she prepares her through lots of practicing.

“I also prepare her to win or to lose gracefully,” McKay says.

She adds that among the many challenges in pageantry is jealousy.

“I would like to encourage young girls to participate in pageants. I do train girls. I have boot camps and one-on-ones as well,” Mckay says.

Facts about Christel:

*She’s a very down-to-earth person.

*She loves singing and recorded first album when I was nine years old.

*She doesn’t eat vegetables.

*She is very committed.

*She is a very fast learner.

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