Reigning Mrs World, Candice Abrahams turns heads wherever she goes and has gotten used to the attention she receives. Candice responds with such humility to all the compliments she receives from those who admire her beauty.

As she walks into the coffee shop we’re meeting in; her captivating beauty causes stares and her warmth makes people comfortable enough to request to take photos with her. The staff also joins in together with management; disrupting the flow of business for a while but all can be forgiven because after all who can resist posing with Mrs World?

Candice quickly settles in and tells me how her life took a complete turn when she was crowned Mrs South Africa 2016. “My life changed overnight after being crowned Mrs South Africa, I went from being a mom that’s been sitting at home for the past two to three years to becoming this overnight businesswoman, doing radio and TV interviews and doing a charity drive which I started about a year ago. A friend and I decided that we want to do more, we wanted to give to charity and so we started the stationery drive sponsored by Pritt. We distribute basic stationery packs to high schools and primary schools. Mrs South Africa gave me a platform to do more”.

The sudden change didn’t find Candice unprepared as she says that mentally and physically she was ready but the work load that came with the reign is what she was not ready for. “I would say I was ready and prepared to win but I didn’t really know how huge it would be; winning Mrs South Africa was a big thing and going to Mrs World was even bigger”.

Juggling motherhood, being a wife, a successful businesswoman and Mrs World duties is something that Candice has been able to do with ease because of the support she enjoys from her husband and those around her. “My husband has been an amazing support system; my friends have also been offering help and my family as well. I encourage women to speak to their husbands and let them know of their needs because a lot of women make everything to be about their husbands. I centred my whole life around my husband, making him happy and fulfilling his needs. We then sat down and had a conversation and I said it’s time for Candice and he said he supported me fully and he has been there for me ever since”.

 

With husdand Ismail Abrahams, daughter Samia and son Taai

Candice started modelling at the age of five and participated in over 30 beauty pageants and won about 16, one of them Miss Jam Alley. In 2001 she entered Miss South Africa and was the youngest contestant at the age of 17. “I was quite shocked when I got the call telling me that I was a finalist and needed to be in Joburg. Then I wasn’t fully prepared but confidently I can say I was prepared but mentally I wasn’t. I walked away very sad and depressed that I didn’t win because I knew I had what it took but now I can see the bigger picture”.

Growing up in Durban, Candice had a good upbringing, experiencing both the life of having less, in a house with no lights and running water and living a comfortable life later. She moved to Johannesburg to support her husband of nine years, Metro FM presenter, Ismail Abrahams in his radio career. She left everything behind to be there for her husband while raising their two kids. So when ‘Candice time’ came, her husband understood and supported her all the way.

“My husband sends me messages everyday telling me how proud he is of my accomplishments, saying he can’t believe that I’m living my dream. I also encourage young girls to never give up on their dreams”.

The beauty queen didn’t always have the self-confidence she exudes; in fact she had low self-esteem growing up due to being teased for her looks; was consistently bullied at school and has had her fair share of challenges.

“I battled with self-esteem issues and had a big fear of public speaking. I suffered from mild depression just after I had my kids and when we moved up to Johannesburg I went into my shell. I share my story of overcoming my challenges with other women to encourage and inspire them”.

Candice shares her love for fashion over the years and how through this passion she has come up with her fashion label that she is currently working on. “I’ve always had an eye for fashion and I’ve always said that one day I’d be a fashion designer. I’m currently working on my own fashion label which will come out just before I hand over my title in November”.

Calling things into being is what Candice believes she experienced with her being crowned Mrs World. “My father held me up as a baby and said ‘this is my Miss World’,” she said. ‘‘My purpose as Mrs World is to inspire married women to let them know that they can make it in life”.

On the big announcement as Mrs World, Candice says she couldn’t believe it when they called out her name as the winner. “I was trembling, I looked at them to hear if they really said my name; up until now I still can’t’ believe I’m Mrs World. I have to watch the video once or twice a week to let it sink in. Being the first Mrs South Africa to be crowned Mrs World is something couldn’t comprehend. But I knew the judges saw my heart and after the competition they came to me and said you have this genuineness about you, we see it in your eyes and we’ve given you this because we know what you’re going to do with the title back in your country”.

Speaking about the support she received Candice says that she was received very well upon her return and had a good two days of media coverage but when the hype died down there was no further support. “We battle to let people take into the whole Mrs South Africa thing. I think we’re trying to break the stigma and are saying that we are married women and we can do things, if not better”.

Candice has indeed made South Africa proud and with such a huge title you would expect to see her on every magazine cover but this has not been the case much to her disappointment. We hope this will change soon before her reign is over.

 

By Amanda Matshaka

 

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