Rolene Strauss is a South African model best known for winning the 2014 Miss South Africa pageant and for winning the 2014 Miss World pageant. Rolene won the Miss South Africa title in March 2014 and was crowned Miss World on 14 December 2014. Her 1st Princess Ziphozakhe Zokufa took over the title of Miss South Africa three days after Rolene won Miss World.
Miss SA Q&A
I'm currently living in Bloemfontein (Free State), but I'm originally from a small town called Volksrust in Mpumalanga.
Medical student at the University of the Free State
Previous beauty competitions/pageants won
Elite Model Look South Africa 2007; Miss Diaz 2010 and Miss Shimla Varsity Cup 2011.
What lessons did you learn during The Road to Miss SA TV shoot at Sun City?
I found your attitude determines your experiences and your growth. Just like the runway challenge in the rain, life also has slippery and challenging moments. We should keep our eyes on the main goal, be fearless and go for gold. Even if it means that you might slip and fall you will inevitably end up stronger.
What were the highlights of your Sun City stay?
I loved the photo shoot with Tim Hulme. It was the experience of a lifetime, if there was one creature I could be for a day, it would be an eagle. With this specific challenge I had the opportunity to share the lens with a beautiful black eagle.
Also the fact that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with 11 amazing women strengthened the bond between us in such a way that we become very close, almost like sisters.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?
When someone says "South Africa" I get goose bumps. I have this fire of passion burning inside of me for our country. The opportunities I have received have made me who I am today and I've realised that there is so much to give; to our country and our people.
Miss South Africa is all about giving. One of the greatest gifts anyone can receive is the gift of a healthy life. With my passion for giving, people and health, I will be able to contribute to one of the most important things any country desires: health for all.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you?
Jo-Anne Strauss. I remember meeting her as a nine-year-old girl in my hometown, Volksrust. She brought Miss SA to the people and is still making a change in the lives of others. She is the perfect example of a beautiful, strong woman who became Miss SA, went back to university, finished her studies and to this day is using all her opportunities since her crowning 13 years ago. I would love to be one of her successors.
Who are your role models?
Professor Jonathan Jansen, the rector of the University of the Free State, is one the most outspoken, down-to-earth, passionate, people's persons I've met. He is not afraid to stand for what he believes in, he loves what he does and gives of himself to his students.
I can testify that he wants the best for his students and supports them in all they do. We can all learn from Prof Jansen. Love what you do, stay humble and let the light shine on others.
Tell us a bit more about your family?
I was blessed with the most amazing and supportive family! My mom studied nursing and my dad medicine at the University of the Free State. He met my mom when she was working in the wards at Universitas Hospital and started charming her.
Like a fairy tale, they fell in love, got married and eventually wanted to start a family. After five long years (and most of their savings), I popped out of a test tube. A year after my birth my brother was, as my mom says, "sent from heaven".
We are a very close family and support each other in everything we do. My brother and I grew up in Volksrust. He is a third year Quantity Surveying student at Kovsies as well and plays rugby for the u/21 Griquas team. My dad (from whom I've learnt to have a passion for people) is practicing medicine and my beautiful mom is a house wife in Volksrust, Mpumalanga.
What do you do in your spare time?
My mom used to tell me that the more you do, the more you get done. I've always been a very active person. I love playing golf, exercising, going to the movies in Bloem (probably because Volksrust doesn't have a mall or movies), reading inspirational books and listening to educational audio books.
2014 is the year in which SA celebrates its 20th year of democracy – what does that mean to you?
It is another reminder of our rich cultural history, potential, power and diversity. We struggled through our obstacles, stood up after difficult times and gave hope to so many countries where equality is a struggle. This shows us that we are capable of great things and we are resilient.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
We as women have soft and sympathetic souls. We are the ones who give hope, love and comfort. Let us use those qualities.
If you won the Miss SA crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe. She is a trained medical doctor and has a passion for health and giving through the Motsepe family foundation. She is also the chairperson of African Fashion International (AFI) where her dream is to take young people from townships and rural area, give them skills and show them what they can be. She is a true inspiration of what a hard working woman can achieve in South Africa.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I'm the University of the Free State's first successful test tube baby.
What are you reading?
Apart from my obstetrics and surgery handbooks, I like reading inspirational books. I've recently read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
What is on your iPod?
Music is the one thing that can instantly create a certain vibe. I like listening to different music in different situations - golden oldies, country music, Bellamy Brothers, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Ben Howard, Jack Johnson, Mango Groove, Theuns Jordaan, Riana Nel, Retief Burger, Hillsong and Enya to study to.
Your favourite TV show?
The time to watch and follow TV shows is rare, but when I get the chance I like watching Grey's Anatomy and Bones.
Your favourite meal?
My mom's oxtail and stamp mielies. It may be because it makes me think of home and family time or simply because it's just so yummy!