A tearful Miss South Africa opened up on Friday about her heartbreak of not placing in Miss Universe early this week, snapping the three-year streak of her home country which has been emerging as a pageant powerhouse.
In an hour-long Instagram live session, Natasha Joubert spoke to her followers about her journey in the international competition, “to be transparent and to share the ups and downs.”
Joubert had been listed as a strong contender by pageant pundits leading up to the coronation night, ranking in the top 10 or the top 21 in forecasts.
However, she ultimately did not place in the top 21, shocking even Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, who tweeted during the finals night that she was “hurt for South Africa.”
“I know how much heart they pour into preparation,” she said, mentioning the creative director of the Miss South Africa pageant, Werner Wessels. “Para rin silang Pilipinas doon kung ga'no sila ka passionate sa paghahanda nila.”
Wurtzbach counts among many who have voiced their support for Joubert following the results, as the latter emotionally shared during her Instagram live video.
“It’s really lovely to see people asking how I am feeling and how I am doing. The support I’ve been receiving is unbelievable,” she said.
In tears, Joubert added: “I didn’t think I was going to cry so early, but it’s simply because of all the support I’ve been receiving and the lovely messages and comments. I’m so, so grateful to have been able to represent South Africa and make you guys proud.”
Joubert recalled being “at peace with everything I did” during the preliminary rounds, and that she “felt content” with her performances leading up to coronation day on May 17 (Manila time).
The preliminary competition determined the top 20 candidates, which included the Philippines’ Rabiya Mateo, with the addition of a fan vote winner, Vietnam’s Nguyễn Trần Khánh Vân.
“The one thing I told myself before going to Miss Universe was, regardless of the outcome, if I did everything I could, and if I am happy with my performance, I need to be content with whatever the outcome is,” Joubert said.
The outcome was the broken streak of South Africa placing in the top five, with two winners, in the past three years. Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was crowned Miss Universe in 2017, Tamaryn Green placed second to the Philippines’ Catriona Gray in 2018, while Zozibini Tunzi reclaimed the crown in 2019.
“It was hard to accept,” Joubert said. “It wasn’t something I expected. I’m still trying to understand, and there’s obviously not a certain answer I’m going to get at this moment.”
“Everything happens for a reason, and that’s literally the only thing I can look at, saying there’s a reason why I didn’t make it to top 21. It’s not something I understand currently. It’s not something I expected to happen.”
Not making it as a top 21 finalist meant Joubert was unable to participate in the swimsuit and evening gown rounds (she had a new outfit prepared for the latter), as well as two question-and-answer segments, during the coronation night.
As Miss Universe tradition goes, the non-finalist candidates still appear on stage momentarily during the subsequent rounds, as well as during the announcement of the winner.
“It was extremely hard standing there, knowing that South Africa did so well for three years,” Joubert said, crying. “But I gave everything. I’m proud of myself for standing there. I overcame so many things that I’ve struggled with for such a long time.”
“I have to accept that I’ve put myself out there, and that was more than enough. In five years time, I will understand why. I will understand why things didn’t work out like I wanted it to.”
Joubert admitted she has been emotional during the last few days, following the Miss Universe results, where Mexico’s Andrea Meza was crowned.
In a previous post, she referred to her non-placement as a “heartbreak.”
“It’s normal,” she said, referring to having uncertainties as she moves forward. “I want people to see that everything doesn’t go perfectly like you planned things to go.”
“Yes, I cried. Yes, I was disappointed. Yet, I was also inspired by not placing to just know that there is a different plan and path in my life.”
With her Miss Universe journey at an end, Joubert, who is a fashion designer, said she is looking forward to establishing her clothing line once she returns to South Africa, and resuming modeling work.