CELEBRATING women this women’s month

IN commemoration of Women’s Day, which will be celebrated on August 9, Hillcrest Fever chatted to show-jumper and ex-Miss South Africa winner Heather Mostert.

Crowned on the eve of the millennium, the former Miss SA star shared some of the hardships she came across in her journey.

She said being crowned Miss SA was an amazing moment, saying: “I was star struck, humbled, as I celebrated the start the 21st century on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and many other key role players and leaders of South Africa’s past, present and future.

“It was a pivotal moment in time, in our country and in my life,” she said.

Mostert described her Miss SA year as a tumultuous journey of highs and lows, a journey of self-discovery, exploration and adventure beyond her wildest dreams.

“What I learnt from my journey as Miss SA is how diverse and beautiful our country and its people are.

“I learnt to smile when I was crying inside. I learnt to act braver and I encouraged children on the Cape flats to avoid gangs and drugs, amidst gun fire and looting outside the school, and to often paste on a smile for hours on end at sponsor functions and events when all you’re wishing for is your bed.

“It is through interacting with each other that we learn the most, and so it was that the people I met shaped me into the person I am today.

Everyone will take something different away from a life changing event, I took away the importance of my family, and I truly learnt to value the people I love,” she explained.

Mostert said one of the challenges she faced during the year of her reign was self-confidence: “There were many situations wherein I felt out of my depth, and it’s all the more difficult being in the spotlight when you’re feeling slightly overwhelmed, however the Miss SA experience taught me the invaluable lesson of ‘fake it till you make it’.”

Mostert added that, no matter the situation, she soon learnt to step in and step up to the challenge, to believe in herself and to realise that doing her best was good enough.

“Developing my self-confidence has enabled me to lead a fuller life — I’m not scared of failure, I’m more fearful of missing the opportunity to try,” Mostert added.

The show-jumper revealed that the challenges she faced have an impact on the person she’s become.

“I have become obsessed about living every day of my life to the fullest. Carpe Diem! More than ever, I am hungry to make a difference, to see the world and to push myself out of my comfort zones; to feel, to live and to challenge myself.

“We have one life, live with no regrets and make it exceptional,” said Mostert.

In conclusion, Mostert shared that now she is a show-jumper with a passion for adventure sports and in October she’ll be running across the polar ice fields in Greenland.

“I recently completed the Mongol Derby — noted in the Guinness book of records as the longest, toughest horse race in the world — amongst other things. I’ve cycled across Vietnam, rafted through Alaska and trekked through the Amazon jungles. The farther flung the adventure, the better.”

Her message for other women is that they hold the power in their hands. “Today, more than ever, the future belongs to you! Are you ready for it?” she asked. See more Women’s month articles inside.