Miss South Africa 2017
Samantha Laura Kaye was born to two very different but equally unique and determined people.
Her father was a brilliant computer programmer, software designer and engineer, who excelled in the arts, and who taught her to love music, photography and the magic all around us.
Her mother was a nurturer and academic, who was raised by catholic nuns in South Africa, and instilled in Samantha her love of caring for others, her love for gardening and her love for literature.
Samantha was born in England, whilst her mother was completing a masters degree in London and her father was developing one of the fastest computers of the 80s – however when her mother was offered a lecturing position at the University of Cape Town, as well as an opportunity to conduct research on Fetal Alcohol syndrome funded by De Beers, her mother moved back to South Africa, taking Samantha with her when Sam was six years old.
Samantha enjoyed school, and excelled in Mathematics – winning a gold award at the University of Cape Town’s Mathematics Olympiad when she was only 12 years old.
At the age of 15, Samantha helped organize a protest march for free anti-retrovirals to be given to rape victims. Freedom Fighter Archbishop Desmond Tutu supported the cause, and when he was called away to attend a racism conference which rendered him unable to attend the march, he sent his speech to Samantha and requested that she read it for him. The speech and march was televised, allowing for Samantha to be noticed by UNAIDS who recruited her to help organize the youth vigil in South Africa for world Aids Day.
That same year Samantha’s father passed away in England. Teenagers can be cruel to one another, and and after much bullying at school concerning the death of her father, she changed schools. Rather than become cynical, she threw herself into helping her community at the new school: volunteering to teach English at a primary school in the township and later working with a kindergarten in the same township.
Samantha graduated high school and at 17 started university on a full academic scholarship. She had hoped to take a gap year but her mother felt it was important for her to continue on the upwards trajectory she was on. In her second year of university, Samantha decided to take a break from her studies, focusing on her art, photography and acting instead.
Samantha made and sold art and was trained as a makeup artist whilst she auditioned for numerous acting roles. Despite having no formal training, she was awarded the female lead in a musical in Durban and following that began to start a blog to document her travels and work.
Her blog gained such popularity that she was awarded 89th Sexiest Women in the world in FHM South Africa, which launched a modeling career that saw her travel the world and work with many major publications from Marie Claire, to Elle Magazine, Fair Lady, Sports Illustrated, GQ and Cosmopolitan – as well as landing campaigns for brands such as Vodafone UK, Volotea airlines, Fair Lady Bridal, Triumph Lingerie and many others. She has also appeared in television commercials and music videos, and has worked extensively as an MC and voice over artist.
To balance her work in front of the camera, Samantha developed her skills behind the camera and held her first solo photography exhibition in 2014.
Never one to become complacent, she looked to her love of baking and cooking, and during her time modeling in South Africa started a small scale home bakery and catering business. In line with Samantha’s concern for the community, this small business contributed to various charities: she spent Christmas Day delivering Christmas cupcakes to an old age home and the public provincial hospital. She firmly believed that giving cheer to the unwell and the people who are working on Christmas was the truest way to celebrate a day of giving.
To me, success is living a life you you can be proud of and finding happiness nd gratitude in each day.
In 2014 Samantha developed a love for yoga. Yoga helped to cure her anxiety and insomnia. She began to think about how she could use the practice to help others.
Samantha decided to get a qualification, so as to better understand the physical and biological elements of the poses and she saved to get the best internationally recognized qualification she could in Cape Town, South Africa. After qualifying, Samantha decided to explore Asia – the home of yoga where she is now currently modeling and exploring.
In 2018, having seen first hand what yoga can do for her own body and mind, she plans to start an NGO which will bring free yoga classes to the elderly, the anxious and the youth in search of guidance within communities