Queensburg’s business woman Charlotte Nihal (CN) is the finalist in the Tammy Taylor Mrs South Africa 2019 competition. The UIP newly elected chairperson said growing up she has always been an extrovert. She said she already feels like a winner of the competition. Tabloid Newspapers (TN) spoke to Nihal more about the competition and how she handles her responsibilities.

TN: Where were you born and which school did you go to?
CN: My story, Marianhill to MIT. I was born to humble beginnings in a small town called Marianhill, my family later moved to Queensburgh were I still reside today. I attended Malvern Primary School and my high school career was at Wingen Heights Secondary. Although I am from a small town, I always had big dreams and my passion to succeed got me to one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as becoming a national representative of the Clothing and textile sector of SA by the FP&MSETA.

TN: When did you get married?
CN: I married my high school sweetheart Vishaal and best friend on November 17, 2019. It was everything we could have dreamed of. The wedding was held at Zimbali Coastal Resort and Estate.

TN: How does your significant other feel about the competition?
CN: My husband is my biggest fan and supporter and encourages me to always persevere towards all that I aim to accomplish.

TN: Growing up, were you an introvert or extrovert?
CN: I was always an extrovert and loved talking. My first experience with being in front of an audience was when I was in preschool and was asked by the principal to open in prayer at a school function.

TN: The competition requires you to be someone with a passion for working with other woman, be a person with the spirit of ubuntu, what makes you suitable for this?
CN: Ubuntu speaks of humanity, compassion, integrity and togetherness, these are values that I live by and what has moulded me into the person that I am today. I have always believed that if each one of us attempted to help transform the life of just one other person, society would become a better place. I may not be able to change the world but I can certainly start with my community, helping to inspire, motivate, educate and empower women to be the best version of themselves.

TN: As a wife and business woman, what are some of the challenges have you faced when juggling the competition, work and home at the same time?
CN: There have been many moments were I felt like giving up, because managing family life, career, education and simply my time can be overwhelming. It is in these moments however that I remind myself of all that I have accomplished and it reminds me that perseverance always pays off.We may not get the immediate results we wish to see, but eventually we will.

TN: What would winning the competition mean to you and who would benefit more than you from your winning?
CN: I already feel like a winner for making it this far and challenging myself. The Tammy Taylor Mrs South Africa is really an MBA of life and takes one out of the comfort zone, forcing me to push personal boundaries and work harder than I may have before. These are winning lessons already learnt. Winning this competition however will be a huge accomplishment, not because it is a personal victory but because it gives me a voice and platform to reach out to far more women than I might be able to currently. It will help me network and connect with people that have the same vision for women empowerment as myself.

TN: You are involved in community work, what are some of the projects you have been involved in?
CN: As part of the Tammy Taylor Mrs South Africa competition I am currently involved in a women for women project with Maqhutshana

High School where topics like the working world, contraception and general life skills are covered. I am also doing an Mpact Recycling project with Malvern Primary School which encourages learners to recycle. I have also been involved projects regarding entrepreneurship that encourage women to start their own business’s, support groups and counselling for abused women as well as training women on technology used in the Clothing and Textile industry.

TN: You have ben recently elected as the chairperson of UIP, tell me more about what you do and what do you deal with on a day to day?
CN: A UIP is involved in the managing of their area and being registered with the Ethekweni Municipality as a formal organisation. It involves security, cleaning and greening as well as community development. Security is one of the major concerns and is one of the major issues that I deal with. The UIP also consist of a board of directors, each of which manage a specific portfolio regarding the community. This UIP also involves ongoing communication with the community with regard to security related matters and urban improvement,

TN: After a very long day how do you unwind?
CN: Exercising is what recharges me, so unwinding from the stresses of the day is done by taking a 6km to 8 km walk in my community with a group of wives, mothers and women who just want to keep fit. We like to refer to ourselves as the Shallcross Walk Club but have not formalised this. My final moments of unwinding is when I get to relax with my husband and my family.

TN: What does being a real woman mean to you?
CN: Being a woman means being someone who is real, some who is relatable. She is someone that knows challenges but never gives up. She wears many crowns, that of a wife, sister, friend and mother. She is always there for those that need her and she embraces herself for who she is.

TN: Are you a mother and what would you want your children to remember you for?
CN: I am not yet a mother, however I do plan to start my family in the near future. I would want my future children to remember me as a God fearing, hard working and the dynamic women that I hope to have been for them.

TN: Describe your journey in the competition in three words?
CN: Life changing journey.