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Miss World: Still that barefoot girl who climbs trees

2014-12-21 14:23

Johannesburg - Miss World Rolene Strauss wants to have dinner with President Jacob Zuma, is fed up with corny pick-up lines, and would not mind being a superhero.

She stays fit thanks to her skipping rope and her favourite move is Dirty Dancing.

The 22-year-old Strauss, of Volksrust in Mpumalanga, became South Africa's third Miss World when she was crowned in London on 14 December.

She arrived back home on Saturday to a hero's welcome at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

She speaks passionately and seriously about wanting to leave behind a legacy instead of just focusing on good looks, but when asked a few more light-hearted questions, the medical student from the University of the Free State patiently plays along.

Worst pick-up line?

Those to do with her being a medical student. "When they hear that I'm a medical student, they are like, I have this pain here..."

Favourite move?

Dirty Dancing and Patch Adams. "When I was Miss South Africa, I stayed alone in a flat and whenever I was sad, I watched Dirty Dancing."

If she could invite three people to dinner, who would they be?

Zuma, Melinda Gates, of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Miss World 1994, Aishwarya Rai.

Favourite book?

"The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari was the most recent book I have read and changed my life. It changed my outlook on life and realising over again that you have the power to determine where you want to be."

How does she stay fit?

"I'm really sporty and like being active. I like doing things with my dad especially when I have the time but with my hectic schedule I try to get to the gym as often as I can but it is not easy. The one thing I have realised is that you can exercise anywhere. When there is no gym I take out my skipping rope and I skip."

Strauss insists that she is still the barefoot little girl who once sat and waited in a tree in Kruger National Park for her parents to find her after she got lost.

"That is basically who I am, the girl who runs bare foot and climbs trees."

She would not mind being a superhero, and if she could choose a name for herself, it would be Princess Freedom.

"I would love to be a superhero. Because superheroes are able to do anything and help anyone. I believe that being a woman we already have the magic.

"I would like my name to be Princess Freedom. Freedom is just a beautiful word, it means so much. In South Africa we have the freedom of speech, education, and religion."

Strauss strongly feels that women should not "fit into a certain box to be someone".

"Don't try to be someone else. Create your own box."

Worst day of her life? Probably when she was alone in Europe as a 16-year-old, got bitten by a spider and had to undergo an operation.

"When I was 16 years old I travelled abroad and I was all alone and I remember feeling like modelling is not for me. I put my hopes on something that would force me to come back to South Africa and a spider bit me.

"I was all alone in Germany at that stage and I had to get an operation. That was the worst day of my life. Being in a foreign country, having a spider bite you with no one to help me."

She is spending the festive season with her family before starting her work as Miss World in earnest, but once the year is over, she is determined to complete her studies to become a doctor, just like her father.

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