Born and raised in Hartbeespoort, Carla Viktor, alongside other Miss Earth contestants from around the world, have launched and campaigned the #BigO2Challenge in which 42 trees have been planted worldwide to raise awareness among individuals, organisations, schools, and the general public on how to get involved and plant trees because, simply put, no trees = no humans.
Carla is ready to take on the challenge and champion the Earth with plenty of support and a stamp of approval from Minister Edna Molewa.
1. Carla, what did being crowned Miss Earth SA 2015 mean to you?
It’s officially only been two months. It has been a very overwhelming experience, a dream come true, especially because I’ve always dreamt about making a difference, I just did not know how. Miss Earth has been that platform for me – I really feel like I’m living [out] my purpose and dreams. I’m blessed beyond words.
2. Could you unpack your journey for us?
It has been such a long journey. Because Miss Earth is a leadership and empowerment programme, it’s six months before anyone is announced as the winner of Miss Earth SA. During that time, we have various adaptations, projects, screening initiatives [and] food securities – [we] focus on the youth at schools and focus on, consciousness towards a greener tomorrow.
3. You’re committed to raising awareness among South Africans for environmentally sustainable communities. How’s that initiative coming along?
It’s been coming along quite well. The beautiful thing about becoming Miss Earth is that now you get access to a lot of resources that weren’t at your disposal when you were still a finalist. One the initiatives that is still running is the O2 Challenge that went global [recently]. Girls from all over the world planted trees and food gardens for a greener community.
4. You’re representing South Africa in Austria! How do you feel about that and what are your expectations?
I’m very excited about representing South Africa in Austria, I’ve never been there, it’s my first time traveling to Europe. I’m a bit apprehensive about the weather but I’ll make the best of it and take a bit of a break from this heat in South Africa.
5. How would you advise Joburgers to keep our city environmentally friendly?
I always say, “It starts with me.” So if you, as an individual, contribute your little part, ultimately all the parts add up to make a big difference – if it’s just turning off unnecessary electronics, or turning off unnecessary water taps. Just look out for the basics – it’s the small things that make a difference!
6. How would advise young girls out there who want to get involved in the initiative and one day walk in your shoes to do so?
I would say that, if this your dream and passion, then go for it! It’s not all about glitz and glam – [there are] some hard working days that go into the journey. If it’s your passion, it will definitely ignite a bigger flame. Believe in yourself!
By Neo Sesinye