Doctor Karishma Ramdev has for a few weeks been at the forefront 'fighting' the Covid-19 pandemic and dreams of making a difference in children's lives... but, still, there is more to her.
The former Miss Varsity Cup UP-Tuks has decided to enter for Miss South Africa for a second time. In 2018 she was one of the finalists. Ramdev has a good reason for doing so. To her, Miss South Africa is a torch-bearer for an entire diverse nation.
"Not only does she need to be relatable to people. Miss SA should also be able to understand people from different backgrounds as well as different walks of life. She is a woman of elegance and grace with a selfless heart who wants to serve her community and country. That is why I entered."
Ramdev never had any thoughts about being a beauty queen.
"My biggest desire has always been to help people. Growing up, I saw the good that doctors put out into the world. That inspired me. So I decided to study medicine," Ramdev.
She qualified as a doctor at the end of last year. Eventually, she wants to be a reconstructive plastic surgeon, so she can help children with cleft lip and palate. It is a cause close to her heart.
"There is no reason why children with this condition should be socially isolated or stigmatised because of a medically curable condition."
What started it all was when the Curlitzia Residence housing committee encouraged her in 2015 to enter for the Miss Varsity Cup.
"I only agreed because I wanted to do something for my residence. I had no idea as to what I was letting myself in for, but I decided to enjoy it every step of the way. To my surprise, I won."
The doctor has definite ideas as to what beauty is about.
"Being beautiful is not a thing of only physical appearance; it is about the way you see yourself and loving yourself wholeheartedly to know that you are enough, flaws and all."
Ramdev admits there was a certain irony to being crowned Miss Tuks Varsity Cup.
"To be totally honest, I had not a clue about rugby when I entered the competition. I had never even watched any games or had an opinion about rugby. But when I was a contestant sitting in the crowd cheering for Tuks I got hooked. Even after my reign as Miss Varsity Cup ended, I still came to watch when Tuks played.
"During last year's Rugby World Cup I became an avid supporter of Damian de Allende as he is really handsome. I remember the sheer excitement that I had watching the Springboks beat England in the final. That day filled my heart with pride to be a South African."
When she has time to spare, the doctor loves to read a good book or watch Netflix movies.
"I also have a keen interest in art but haven't had the opportunity to attend any classes. Horse riding is another passion of mine. Being on the back of a horse makes me feel as if I am flying through the air."
Ramdev credits her mom as being the most special person in her life.
"I have never met a woman who is as tenacious, intelligent and enduring yet soft, loving and selfless as her. She has been the most exquisite influence, which has shaped me into the woman I am today. I would not be where I am today without her."