Sasha-Lee Laurel Olivier, 26, is the new Miss South Africa 2019. She assumes the mantle from titleholder, Zozibini Tunzi, who was crowned Miss Universe in December 2019.
Sasha-Lee said she was thrilled to wear the Miss South Africa crown.
“I am so happy for Zozi who deserves, in every way, to wear the Miss Universe sash. I wish her every success. I step into big shoes. I just want Zozi to know that I will do my best to fill them.”
Speaking from New York, Zozi said she was delighted that Sasha-Lee would be taking over from her, “I cannot think of anyone who is more suitable to be Miss South Africa. Sasha has it all: beauty, brains and, above all, a commitment to help others. I have no doubt that she will use her reign to help improve a lot for those in need.”
Miss South Africa Organisation CEO, Stephanie Weil said Sasha-Lee would, going forward, assume all Miss South Africa duties, as well as fulfilling her obligations to the sponsors.
“We are happy to announce Sasha as the new Miss South Africa because she is fully committed and ready to begin her reign.”
Sasha said: “Taking over the Miss South Africa title means that I am able to continue working to help women who, like me, have been sexually abused. It will be a top priority for me during my time as Miss South Africa.”
A survivor of sexual abuse, Sasha-Lee was not believed when she told adults she had been repeatedly raped.
She intends to continue to devote her time to The Beauty with a Purpose campaign that she took to the Miss World pageant in December 2019.
Sasha-Lee’s #itsnotyourfault campaign is aimed at making sure that people who, like her, have endured sexual assault, know that they are not to blame for their abuse.
As a survivor of rape and sexual abuse, Sasha-Lee’s campaign is designed to support, inspire and help girls, boys, women and men who, like her, have survived sexual abuse.
She says she chose #ItsNotYourFault because “A very deep sense of shame accompanies rape and long term sexual abuse. Those who have suffered at the hands of the predators and perpetrators feel responsible for their own abuse and are profoundly ashamed of what is happening, or has happened, to them.
“We need to change the commonly held perception regarding this – the shame does not lie with the victim at all.”
Drawing from her own negative experience, Sasha-Lee is reaching out to women and girls (and boys and men) when they are at their most vulnerable, reporting their attack at poorly equipped police stations.
She has joined forces with Penny Stein and the Angel Network to identify sexual abuse hot spots and provide Rape Comfort Kits.