Each contestant entered Miss Hellene 2016 for a specific purpose. Whether it was to challenge themselves and prove that they could accomplish something they never thought would interest them; or to do what they could to give back to the Hellenic youth of South Africa – through this prestigious platform. And let me tell you – they did!
I truly admire and respect each contestant. I witnessed 12 individuals from different backgrounds come together and form a special bond through the only thing that connected them – their Hellenic roots. They selflessly gave of their time to participate in a planned charity day. They constantly connected and engaged in order to ensure they were prepared enough to possibly become the next national ambassador of the Hellenic youth for the next two years. They fell in love with NAHYSOSA, Hellenism, as well as our place as Hellenic youth in South Africa. They fell in love with themselves.
The last six months have been a blur. Crazy timelines, events building up to the final evening, meetings, and admin tasks that kept our team awake until early hours of the morning, actually, many mornings. I don’t know how we’re already here. With a newly crowned Miss Hellene in 2016. It feels as if I just got a highlights reel. A preview, if you wish, to what we need to do and get through. But my calendar keeps reminding me of reality.
I’m very aware that my feet were hurting before ten o’clock last night. And according to pictures my friends have sent: I was on stage with two powerful Greek personalities. Facing a panel of four more. I’m aware of the bitter sweet tears that filled my eyes backstage while I watched Miss Hellene 2014, Irini Moutzouris, walk gracefully across the stage one last time. And the pride I felt when Miss Hellene Coordinator, Katerina Achilleos, walked up onto stage to represent our organisation – and our wishes for the future Miss Hellene Princesses … and the ultimate winner.
To you, it may have just been a show (thank you for supporting). To me, it was a year. To Katerina, it was four plus her soul. For Irini – it was two and all her heart. That “show” would have been nothing without these two ladies at the forefront, the NAHYSOSA Committee and sub-committee behind them, all those who helped us with what we needed, and (of course) all our sponsors.
To our Miss Hellene 2016, Mikaela Pantazopoulos, congratulations! We are so proud of you and we truly wish you everything of the best. I cannot wait to witness what great things you manage to accomplish as Miss Hellene alongside NAHYSOSA. We will always be here to support you through all your endeavours. And in advance – thank you for everything you will be doing for the Hellenic youth, and the community.
Thank-you for supporting us! Until 2018 …