Caitlin Harty is a former UP student and currently holds the title of Miss Grand South Africa. Harty studied drama at UP and acting at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. Perdeby interviewed Harty about Miss Grand International, where she is currently competing with 80 different countries from around the world in Las Vegas.

How does Miss Grand differ from Miss World?

Miss Grand International is a very glamorous pageant and I think what separates us is our campaign. It’s a very specific campaign that’s aimed at stopping war and violence. Where other pageants and charities focus on general charity work, ours is a very specific cause and we go to very specific places and do very specific work, which I think is so important because you can really channel your energy into really making a proper difference regarding such a huge social issue.

How would you describe your Miss Grand journey so far?

Honestly, it’s the most incredible experience of my life. We are in the city of lights, which is beautiful. Every day we do something incredible; we’ve been to the Grand Canyon, we’ve been to Red Rock, today we are going to the big wheel in downtown Las Vegas, the Las Vegas strip and it’s […] honestly incredible. But then at the same time we are in such a disciplined environment, we have rehearsals everyday to make sure that we are on point. We are treated like queens, but at the same time we are expected to put our work in. We have to remember that we are making a name for Miss Grand International and that’s our duty. So at the same time, yes, we are having all this fun, good food, good times, good friends, but then at the same time we are working hard at putting on the most incredible show. I want to be proud of who I am, what I’ve become and what I’ve done.

How does it feel to represent your country?

To represent my country is just the most incredible experience. I mean South Africa is the biggest love of my life; I love my home so much. They’ve done so much for me and I want to do the same for them. I want to represent them, I want to do well, I want to show the world what South Africa has, I want to explain our culture and I just really want to show these 80 other countries what South Africa is all about and that is just the greatest honour.

How does it feel knowing that you are a role model to young women?

Being a role model to young women is the most important thing you can be. It’s the one thing I aspire to be, especially to young women. We, as women, go through a lot of different things: we go through society norms, good and bad, and being uncomfortable with who you are and then finding your place. There are so many terrible things that no one really should go through and I want to be there for them. I want to show these women that you can achieve anything that you want if you put your mind to it, whether it be your dreams, goals – anything. You can do what and be who you want and I would like to help these girls achieve that. I know I would not be where I am today without the strong female role models that I have in my life.

What advice would you give to someone entering into Miss Grand next year?

Be authentic, because I’ve realised that if you are trying your best and you are being yourself, you are going to have the most incredible experience. Just be comfortable with who you are. The experience of Miss Grand International has taught me that even if I don’t win or don’t take home any placing, I’m still having the most amazing time. I’m taking this experience and I’m really putting it through my heart and I’m cherishing it because at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about. It’s about the experience; at the end of the day they are either going to love you or they aren’t and if you are being yourself then there’s nothing more you can do.

Image provided.

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