Get to know Miss SA Top 10 finalist Karishma Ramdev
The Miss SA 2020 finale is getting closer!
Feature image: Stephen Obi/ @stephenobi.jbg
The Miss SA pageant looks a lot different this year as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. One upside to the changed-up format is that we’re getting to know this year’s Top 10 contestants a lot better via virtual events and takeovers, especially since the pageant has been moved to October as opposed to its usual date in August.
One of the lovely ladies we’ve been getting to know in the build up to the pageant is 25-year-old Karishma Ramdev, a medical doctor from Chatsworth, Kwazulu-Natal who is currently based at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg. Karishma is already well-known to Miss SA fans after shining in the 2018 event where she finished in the Top Five, and she’s decided to give it another shot this year.
We caught up with her to discuss everything from Miss SA to her experience as a doctor on the frontlines of the Covid pandemic, plus a few fun facts her fans may not know.
Why did you choose to re-enter the pageant this year?
I always knew from a young age that my life was going to be centred around helping people. I get to do that every day as a doctor on a small scale but the Miss South Africa platform has endless resources and opportunities. I want to use those to the best of my ability and truly help as many communities as possible throughout our country.
Yes, I have always had a voice but now my voice is amplified and I get to reach out further than ever before!
What was the biggest lesson you took away from the pageant last time?
I realised that I thought I knew who I was but reality set in and I got the shock of my life when I felt lost and had no idea who Karishma really was. I had built up this image of what I wanted to be and became that instead of who I am. It took a lot of self-discovery and MANY life-lessons to eventually truly understand me and what I have to offer.
How have you changed or grown since your last Miss SA experience?
I am now so cemented in who I am as an individual that no external force can break that down. My self-confidence and self-love took a long time to build but now that I have developed those I am able to show South Africa myself in my entirety and truly be vulnerable throughout the entire process. I am so sure of myself and it’s something I never had before.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received for the pageant?
It would be to know my WHY. Why am I entering this pageant and what change do I want to make in our country? I was also told to have three main pillars that sum-up who I am. Another piece of advice that has helped and that I have continued to use is to never compare myself to anyone else because no one can be me and that is my power.
What is your favourite part of the Miss SA pageant process?
Making friends with all the other girls. I truly feel like I am part of a sisterhood after meeting them and spending time with them. It has been incredible thus far! Other than that, it would definitely be the entire make-over process we had. Being a doctor leaves me no time for self-care so to go and get my hair, brows, nails, teeth and facial done was so incredibly relaxing and I felt so spoiled!
Which previous Miss SA’s inspire you and why?
I am so glad this question allows me to name a few. The first would have to be Kerishnie Naiker as I see myself echoed in her. She is the only Indian Miss SA so growing up I felt like I could relate to her because she came from my hometown, Chatsworth. Furthermore, she is also in the health sciences field and ran the most amazing TB campaign during her year of reign.
Rolene Strauss is also a favourite as it was only when she entered that I realised that it was definitely possible to do medicine and Miss South Africa at the same time! She is a true inspiration.
And a Miss South Africa who I swoon over would have to be Jo-Anne Strauss. She is a woman of elegance and kindness and I have looked up to her from the time she appeared on the front page of the You magazine during her year of reign.
What are the biggest differences between the 2018 and 2020 pageants so far?
A lot of our workshops have been virtual where as previously everything would have been done face to face. We had amazing events in 2018 where as now those are limited because of COVID and social distancing. We also used to have roomies that we could spend most of our time with but this time we had our own rooms to further limit contact and possible spread of COVID.
What first drew you to the medical profession?
My older brother was born with a genetic condition that many doctors don’t know much about. Growing up with him made me curious of the science behind the body and how things work. It also humbled me and made me want to help people who couldn’t help themselves. I’ve always had a desire to be of service to people and uplift others.
What is your favourite part of your job?
The smile on a patient’s face when they feel better and when they thank me for the time I take with them. I also love getting to know my patients.
How do you juggle a demanding medical career with all your other ventures and side hustles?
It isn’t easy but time-management has been key to doing as much as I do and I live by the philosophy “The more you do, the more you can do”. I only do things that I feel add value to my life and I cut the negativity out. When you’re passionate about something you will make time for it.
How has the ongoing coronavirus pandemic affected you, both personally and professionally?
It’s been quite hard as I don’t get to spend time with my family and dogs as I usually would have. I normally fly down to Durban every two months. We have now settled for video calls.
Work has been absolutely manic with the number of COVID cases rising. We have at least seven COVID wards and the number just goes higher and higher. Not to mention so many healthcare workers have also contracted the virus so the workforce has decreased.
Which social causes are you passionate about and why?
I am passionate about our women and children as they are the most vulnerable in society. I believe that as women we are so understated and yet there is so much untapped power that we haven’t harnessed yet! I want to teach women the importance of hygiene, safe sexual practices and more about their bodies, like menstruation and contraception.
Furthermore, our children are our future and so we need to start from the ground route level and work our way up. The disparity of good quality education in our country is unacceptable as students are all expected to write the same exams. We need to focus on that as well.
Lastly, I have become very passionate about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) in our hospitals and want to work with organisations to make sure that no hospital ever has a lack of any sort of PPE so that no patient is ever neglected or has a delay when it comes to treatment.
Why do you think the Miss South Africa platform is important today?
As an individual, you can only make so much of a difference in your community but your reach is limited. The Miss SA platform furthers your reach and comes with amazing resources and opportunities and it is up to you as Miss SA to utilise those to the best of your ability.
It gives women hope that strong and independent women are well-received in society and shows the world that women can be more than just a “pretty face”.
If you win Miss SA, what is the first thing you’ll do?
I would probably run and hug my parents as I wouldn’t be where I am today without them and the support they have given me throughout my life. My family is my everything and I would want to immediately celebrate with them!
Rapid fire Q’s with Karishma Ramdev
- Lord of the Rings 1-3
- The Seven Sisters
- Trotters Curry
- Stereo Love (Edward Maya)
Favourite board game?
- 30 Seconds!
Favourite holiday destination?
Item on the top of your bucket list?
- Hermès Birkin bag
Go-to self care treat (or guilty pleasure)?
- Hazelnut chocolate
Who is your style icon?
- Olivia Culpo for sure!
What’s your go-to party trick or secret talent?
- I can sing!
Signature style staple?
- I will not leave the house without lipstick! I can be bare-faced and wear the weirdest clothing but will never leave without my lippie on!
- Penhaligon’s Oud de Nil
Tea or coffee?
- Coffee, it isn’t even a question!
Night owl or early bird?
- Neither, I love sleeping as much as possible! But if I had to choose then night owl.
- “It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela
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