On 5 March Cayla Esterhuysen was crowned Miss Tuks Varsity Cup at halftime during Tuks’s clash against Shimlas. Perdeby had an exclusive interview with the BCom Marketing and Tourism Management student right after she was crowned.

Going into the week, how confident were you that you would win?

In the beginning it was very nerve wracking, but I had the support that I needed. I just knew that this is what I wanted and I went all out for it. I think if you really want something you have to pull out all the stops and just go for it.

What have been the best and worst parts of your experience in this contest?

I don’t really think that there was a “worst” experience. I must say that this was the most wonderful experience, especially with all the friends I made. Really, these were the most amazing girls. They are so genuine and we were so supportive of each other. The friendships that I’ve made I’ll take through my whole life. We just met each other a couple of weeks ago but we have such a close bond and that is just amazing for me. Of course we were competitive in a sense, but mostly because we wanted to raise funds for women abuse and tried to sell all our tickets, and in the end we did.

What was going through your mind as the announcement drew closer?

It felt like my heart was pounding inside my throat. We all have these expectations and everyone wants to be the winner. I think just by competing in this competition you’re a winner, but at that stage there’s that hope that you could win.

Looking at the year ahead, how will you try to make the most of your role as one of the ambassadors of Varsity Cup rugby?

I’m so privileged to represent Tuks. I feel really honoured. I’m going to try my best to represent Tuks the way it should be represented both at the Varsity Cup and at nationals. I’ll really try to be there for our players just to motivate them because I know my happiness comes not only from myself but from the people around me. I just want to give that to the Tuks players.

How confident are you going into the nationals of Miss Varsity Cup?

I must say I’m pretty confident in my capabilities. I’ve got time to prepare for it and I’m really looking forward to it. I look forward to the friendships I’ll make there as well. I believe that you can achieve anything you put your mind to and I’m going to prepare as much as I can and just do my best.

What does being Miss Tuks Varsity Cup mean to you?

It’s really an honour. The previous winners have set such a high standard. I must say I won’t try to fill someone’s shoes, but I want to try to be amazing in my own way as they were in theirs. I’m really looking forward to working with the Women Against Abuse and Pink Shorts campaign. I really believe in women empowerment and this is going to be a great opportunity as it will open so many doors to raise the voice of women. Rugby is normally seen as just a men’s sport but women are also a big part of the lives of rugby players. Women are capable of doing and achieving great things.

Who is your favourite Tuks Player?

Wesley Dunlop. He’s one of the tournament’s top point scorers and he was also impressive in last year’s Currie Cup when he played for the Leopards so I’m really glad that he’s playing for us again.

Do you see Tuks going all the way to the finals again this year?

Of course. It’s Tuks of Niks!

Final comments about the Miss Varsity Cup campaign?

It’s really not a beauty contest – it’s all about personality and confidence. The girls of Tuks really need to participate. If you’ve got confidence and Tukkie pride then you’ve got what it takes and needs to enter Miss Tuks Varsity Cup 2013.

Photo: Kobus Barnard

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