Johannesburg-born beauty queen Gugulethu Mayisela was crowned Miss Teen World 2022 after competing against other teenage hopefuls from across the globe in October.
The 18-year-old won titles including Miss Eco Teen South Africa and Miss Teen World South Africa, before taking the global stage by storm
She said pageantry had been something she wanted to venture into from a tender age, its “beauty and splendour” were what intrigued her the most.
However, as an aspiring philanthropist, she sought a platform to use her passion for advocating for education for young people.
“I am blessed enough to have been allowed to receive a really good quality education, and I know that this isn’t the reality for many young people in our country. Knowledge is power, as it’s something that can never be taken away from you,” said Mayisela.
“We, as the youth are this country’s future leaders, and essentially the pioneers of change, and thus I feel that more time and energy need to be invested in us, and that starts with education and schooling. My goal is to assist to provide young people with the resources they need to enter industries they will not only enjoy, but that will help them break the cycle of poverty that may exist within their communities.”
Mayisela took The Star back to her special crowning moment, which she says was momentous for her, particularly after having placed fourth the previous year.
“The title is one that I’ve been working towards for the past two years. I completed a Miss Teen World South Africa last year and I placed fourth; on that night, I told myself that I would be coming back for the title, and through the grace of God I was not only on the South African title this year but the international title as well,” she said.
“When my country’s name was called and that incredible crown was placed on my head, the whole world chanted ‘South Africa’, and I felt love and support all around. Being announced as Miss Teen World felt surreal. I was so grateful that my hard work had paid off.”
Asked how she plans to use the big platform she now has, the beauty queen said she wants to fulfil her purpose by influencing those around her.
“In my interview, I said that the Miss Teen titleholder needs to be someone who is constantly going out of her way to make a difference in whatever way she can. That’s exactly what I plan on implementing during my year of reign. I intend to fulfil my purpose through service and positively influencing the lives of those around me.”
Mayisela, who is in her final year of high school, said she would like to study accounting science, and be in the fashion industry and strut the runways.
“I have hopes of entering Miss South Africa and further being crowned Miss Universe one day,” she said.