Miss Varsity Cup no longer a beauty pageant

Contestants' looks will not play a part in this year's Miss Varsity Cup competition and there will not be an overall winner. Varsity Cup manager Xhanti-Lomzi Nesi tells's LERATO MKHONDO more.

Why is Miss Varsity Cup no longer a beauty pageant? The FNB Varsity Cup is about changing lives through sport and Miss Varsity Cup is no different. It was created to provide an opportunity for participants to establish themselves in the world and make a difference. It's a platform that empowers and inspires those off the field in the same way that the FNB Varsity Cup inspires those on the field.

Why will there not be an overall winner this year and will this also be the case in future? We want to give equal opportunity to more than just one overall winner. By empowering a candidate from each university, it allows more women to benefit from our brand. This is the first season an overall winner won't be selected and if successful, we will continue in this direction.

Apart from being students who love rugby, what other qualities are you looking for in Miss Varsity Cup contestants? We're looking for candidates who embody the brand and its values, which include integrity, trust, friendship, honesty and transparency. Those crowned Miss Varsity Cup from their respective universities will be students who want to make a difference in the world. Candidates will be further assessed based on criteria such as academic performance, involvement in CSI projects, knowledge of the Varsity Cup brand, public speaking ability, university loyalty and team spirit. It's about who these candidates are and not what they look like.

What role will the winner from each university play? The role of Miss Varsity Cup is to become an FNB Varsity Cup brand ambassador. This includes being a spokesperson for the FNB Varsity Cup CSI project, SpeakUp - which highlights the importance of mental health - galvanising support for their team and university, affecting change, and upholding the brand's values to the highest degree as they step into the public eye.

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