When Manushi Chhillar helped Miss South Africa Ade van Heerden in time of need

Updated: Jan 21, 2018, 16:56 IST | Anand Vasu

In the Long Room of the Wanderers, an extremely pretty young woman bowls a ball to David Miller, the man who lives by the adage:

Ade van Heerden
Ade van Heerden

In the Long Room of the Wanderers, an extremely pretty young woman bowls a ball to David Miller, the man who lives by the adage: "If it's in the V, it's in the tree, and if it's in the arc, it's out of the park." The ball was both in the arc and the V, but Miller politely bunted it to the off side. You couldn't fault him, for the pink ball was delivered on a pink carpet by Ade van Heerden, who wears the Miss South Africa tiara with some pride. Before you think she's just a pretty face, you should know that Ade is a medical doctor who treats 40 patients a day and a lieutenant in the Military 2 Hospital in Cape Town.

van Heerden was in the Top 10 for the Miss World Crown when a wardrobe malfunction came in the way. "We were in China for a month, and on the day of the final dress-rehearsal my gown tore," she told Mid Day, in Johannesburg. "But, just as I was wondering what to do, Manushi came to me and said: 'I have so many dresses, pick whichever one you want." The Manushi she is referring to, is, Manushi Chhillar, India's sweetheart, who went on to be crowned Miss World. "That was so kind of Manushi," said van Heerden. "In my experience Indian culture has been good to me. It's been very warm. I'm super excited. I'm like, just take me to the IPL!."

While most celebrities treat speaking to journalists as a necessary evil, at best, van Heerden looks forward to such opportunities. "It's the most fun part. Because people otherwise think I'm just a pretty face," she says. "If not for this, where would I be sitting and chatting with someone like you? As soon as I open my mouth and get to speak, they can see that I have a brain. That I have a personality, that I care about many things." If Chhillar lent a helping hand in a time of need, van Heerden has done the hard yards herself. A sporty girl all the time she was growing up — she ran the Comrades Ultra Marathon which spans 89 kilometres — van Heerden admits she did not own a handbag till she entered the Miss World Competition.

And she certainly did not grow up wanting to be a beauty queen. "I didn't think I wanted to be Miss South Africa. I was not into dressing up," says van Heerden. "But there is a lot of me in it now. The feminist in me. I feel like women are no longer just beautiful… we are smart, strong, independent. I want young women to have someone to look up to, and feel if she can, so can I."

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