Miss World Namibia 2022 Leoné van Jaarsveld unveiled her national costume for the Miss World 2023 pageant during an event at Droombos in Windhoek on Wednesday.
The 71st edition of the Miss World pageant will be held at the India International Convention and Expo Centre in New Delhi, India, on 16 December, where Karolina Bielawska of Poland will crown her successor.
Van Jaarsveld’s costume was inspired by the endangered pangolin and designed by Petrus Laubscher from Amazing Designs, with jewellery and leather from Stergiadis Leather Products and Jewellery Creations.
“Immerse yourself in the captivating world of Namibia, where the very essence of this extraordinary land comes alive in every stitch and shimmer. Picture a palette of golden browns, touched by the gentle caress of turquoise, adorned with precious gems forged from the heart of the Earth and graced by the awe-inspiring landscapes and wildlife that call this nation home,” Van Jaarsveld said.
She added that she is honored to have the platform to display Namibia.
Her costume showcases Namibia’s boundless beauty, shaped by millennia of natural artistry and serves as both muse and masterpiece, she said.
“Lady Pangolin, a creation born from the vision of Namibian designer Petrus Laubscher, draws its inspiration from this enchanting realm. Using the photographic talents of Jandré Germishuys, these images are woven into silk chiffon, giving life to a skirt that mirrors Namibia’s grandeur.
“The bodice, a testament to the country’s rich mineral wealth, glistens with semi-precious gemstones sourced from Namibian mines. Emerging from beneath faux leather scales that form the sleeve and upper half of the skirt, it becomes a representation of the mystical and endangered pangolin – a creature like no other in the world,” she said.
Pangolins are the sole scaled mammals on our planet and have graced our Earth for some 80 million years, and yet their existence hangs in the balance, threatened by the ruthless poaching driven by the international traditional medicine trade, she said.
For Van Jaarsveld, her national costume is not just a fashion statement but a heartfelt plea and a beacon of awareness for a critically endangered species.
“With Lady Pangolin, we don’t just wear the beauty of Namibia, we carry the legacy of the pangolin, a living treasure deserving of our protection and admiration.
“It has been an extremely challenging year and three months but fulfilling a lifelong dream makes it all worth it. At the Miss World contest, I will proudly – with grace and honour – represent my country to the best of my capability and give it all I have,” she said.
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