Kempton Park beauty Bryoni Govender walked on the international runway for the first time when she represented South Africa at the Miss Universe contest.
Govender got the opportunity to participate in the 72nd Miss Universe when she won Miss SA 2023 first runner-up, as Natasha Joubert, the original winner of the pageant, had previously competed in the international contest
She wasn’t in the top five in the Miss Universe competition but made it to the top 20.
Upon arrival in El Salvador on November 4, Govender prepared herself for fittings, getting her sash before going out for dinner to meet with the other contestants.
The other days were for filled with interviews and shoots. She also decorated mirrors for “Smile Train” cleft patients who received free treatments from the organisation.
“Smile Train is the world's largest cleft organisation that empowers local medical professionals in over 70+ countries with training, funding and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally.
“They have supported more than 1.5 million cleft surgeries, along with essential treatments beyond surgery, such as nutritional support, orthodontic care, dental care, social and emotional support, and speech therapy, to ensure long-term success for patients.
“Thank you, @smiletrain, for an unforgettable morning that left an indelible mark on my heart(along with this little man),” wrote Govender on Instagram.
On November 10, she attended the Miss Universe Charity Gala and wore a stunning white latex dress by Priscilla Michelle, the designer behind the rehearsal dresses.
In the preliminary round, Govender looked elegant in a gold number by Willet Designs Couture.
Govender did well in the preliminary round and made it to the ‘Voice for Change’ top 10.
On November 17, she dazzled in her green national costume designed by Casey Jeanne Walters. Govender’s costume was inspired by her African-Indian heritage.
“This year’s national costume is an African-Indian fusion and a celebration of Govender’s heritage. It was inspired by a sari and is adorned with traditional Zulu beads in a pattern inspired by an Ndebele print,” said the Miss South Africa Organisation’s Creative Director, Werner Wessels.
“We deliberately didn’t want an ostentatious and over-the-top national costume. But rather a high-fashion couture version that allows Govender to shine.”
On the big night, November 19, she made South Africa proud when she made it to the Miss Universe 2023 top 20, and that’s where her Miss Universe journey ended.
“I hope that, even though I didn’t get a placing, I did South Africa proud. It is an experience that I will never forget,” she said.
“The support has been overwhelming, and I so appreciate it. I look forward to returning to South Africa and continuing with my advocacy drive, Her Way Out. ”
South Africans agree that Govender did exceptionally well.
“You’ve done so well my queen, tremendously well and you’re an inspiration to us all,” said @veeictoriah.
Miss SA CEO Stephanie Weil, expressed how proud she was of Govender.
“We are incredibly proud of Govender and how she represented both us as an organisation and the country on a world stage; she truly shone.
“She has already been acknowledged by Miss Universe for her incredible campaign, and we look forward to continuing to roll it out in South Africa on her return.”