Megan aims for the crown
Mrs South Africa finalist Megan Nel is not just a pretty face… this dedicated mother does not only have a passion for her own children, but also for those who go hungry and have to sleep out in the cold. Her aim is to bring warmth and full bellies to as many underprivileged children as she can reach.
”We are so fortunate, and I teach my children that, and it hurts me to think of all those children who have to go without even the basic necessities. We have to give back,” the 43-year-old beauty and mother of two young boys, says passionately.
It is this compassion and concern that have given her a unique idea … she is busy working on a project called ‘More than just a bag’.
“All children have a bag, even if it is only a plastic shopping bag in which they carry books, and I thought we could make something that could be more than a bag – one that a child could use as a bag, something to sit on and something to keep them warm.
She is currently looking for investors to produce this bag of sustainable material that can fold open to be used either as a bag to carry things in, to use as a mat or as a blanket. “To be more than a bag.”
This fits in with the ‘Be More Foundation’ she co-founded a couple of years ago that operates on the principal that no person can be more if he goes hungry. “You have to have food in your tummy to go on. You cannot be more if you are hungry. The foundation has feeding schemes at various schools and sees to it that hundreds of small tummies are filled.”
“And I remind my two boys all the time that one cannot just take. You have to give back in life.”
And it is her boys, Edmund (10) and Brodie (6) who pushed her to enter the Mrs South Africa pageant.
“Edmund turned to me one evening while he was doing homework and told me I should enter Mrs South Africa. I was totally flabbergasted. A ten-year-old promoting a beauty pageant? It turned out former Mrs South Africa, Hlengiwe Twala, also from Hartbeespoort, had visited their school. His reasoning was that she got hugged so much and that would be perfect for me because I am a hugger,” she laughs.
A few weeks later, he asked her again and out of curiosity she researched the pageant.
“He told me if I did it, he would work extra hard at school. I discovered that this was not a beauty pageant, but an empowerment project. Through the pageant, communities are uplifted and then of course, the main beneficiary is the Cancer Association of South Africa.”
Megan’s domestic help took photos with her cellphone and she entered!
The rest is history. Megan is one of the 25 finalists to compete for the crown on 6 October.
Her family is just as excited as she is. “My husband Jacques loves the social scene. He is a social butterfly. I was so lucky to marry my best friend. Him and the boys are my biggest supporters.”
Amidst the flurry of the pageant activities, Megan still runs her business as an agent for international clothing lines.
She has been in the beauty and fashion world since she left school. “I have dyslexia and school was really hard for me. Studying after school was not an option for me and when modelling opportunities arose, it was a natural step.’
She spent a number of years in Europe modelling before coming back to South Africa and settling down to be a wife and mom.
“I love my life but this pageant has put me back in touch with what Megan wants! I was a wife and a mother and a homemaker and I forgot what I wanted. Well, I discovered myself again and I am loving every moment of it.”
She has a message for all women out there: “Stand tall, pull your shoulders back, lift your head up high and be great!”