SONJA THERON

Cocktails, designer dresses and local celebrities. This is how TuksRag’s search for the next Tuks Miss Rag Queen was kick-started on August 6.

In addition to this, the new title of Tuks Ambassador was also introduced for the fi rst time this year, as the male counterpart to the Rag Queen.

Those who entered the competition were invited to this social affair before the gruelling work (that comes with competing for the title) would begin. The main event was a fashion show with celebrity models. Former Rag Queen fi nalists joined contestants and winners from other pageants, such as Miss South Africa, and various local celebrities on the runway to display designer clothing, ranging from casual wear to evening wear.

Donnalee Roberts, former Tuks Miss Rag Queen and 7de Laan guest star, was the guest speaker at the event. She addressed the aspiring debutants and ambassadors and explained the causes that they would be raising money for as well as the benefi ts to be received from this experience.

In particular, she spoke of how this competition empowered her: “When I started with charity work, nobody wanted to listen to me. This changed with TuksRag. [TuksRag] would back every project idea I had, the support was amazing”.

The debutants and ambassadors are expected to raise funds for, and participate in, several community projects. These include the Help-Net Fund Safe House for abused children; and the Jacaranda Children’s Home, as well as other projects such as soup kitchens and mental homes. TuksRag claims to raise over R7 million every year.

This year, there were over 800 entries for this competition. Over the next few months there will be three rounds to narrow the search for the Tuks Rag Queen/Ambassador. These rounds will consist largely of fund-raising opportunities for the contestants such as a golf day and wine sales.

 There are also expected to be several outreach programmes and social events for the contestants to participate in.