The Upper Highway can claim another pageant winner among its residents! Mother, businesswoman and wife, Priya Boshoff is Mrs India SA 2016
story hayley dennyson
pictures adi weerheim
The first thing that strikes you about 35-year-old Priya Boshoff is her incredible sense of serenity. Everything about her is calm, from her melodic voice to the graceful way she moves. Perhaps this is a result of the Hare Krishna principles that she is devoted to, living with compassion and sensitivity to all living creatures.
We first met Priya after she won the Mrs India SA crown in November 2016. “At the final, one of the questions posed to me was ‘If you were to be on the cover of a magazine, what magazine would it be and why?’,” Priya explained. “I said I would choose The Crest. Everyone I spoke to ahead of the pageant was so warm and supportive. They saw potential in me and that motivated me to do better. Due to the incredible support I have received, I would be honoured to represent the community on this magazine’s cover.”
If ever there was a way to get an editor’s attention!
Part of what secured Priya the title of Mrs India SA was her performance of traditional Indian dance during the final. She is passionate about music and dance, and hopes to explore this more in the future.
Priya describes herself as 80% stay-at-home mom, 20% businesswoman, with that portion of her day taken up with the cosmetics line that she imports from Trinidad and Tobago for women of colour. But that doesn’t account for the time Priya spends contributing to the local community through campaigns with the Robin Hood Foundation and her own efforts.
Why Mrs India SA? It is not about segregation, but about celebrating women who maintain their Indian culture, while contributing to the community in which they live.
Mrs India SA focuses on empowering women, finding an ambassador to contribute positively to their community, uplifting and inspiring those around them. Many former contestants had experienced abuse, which had affected both them and their children. As a result, the pageant established the SHE Foundation in 2016, which stands for Serve, Help, Empower. Through this, women are taught about their rights and the possibilities for a life free from abuse. “One thing that we try to impress on people is that it is never too late to study,” says Priya. “I want to help connect those women with business opportunities.”
As we chatted, Priya revealed another fascinating story – that of how she and husband Bernard came to be a couple. “It was love at first sight in the veggie aisle at Pick n Pay!”
While the couple have since discovered that the feeling was mutual (and with each admitting that they made sure they visited the store every day at the same time to catch a glimpse of their future partner), it was almost a year before they spoke. “I signed up to do an IT course in Durban and, when I walked in, there he was,” Priya explains. “I almost left, I got such a shock.” Thankfully, she stayed and their relationship blossomed. Bernard joined Priya at Temple and was blown away by the Hare Krishna principles. He became vegetarian and the two now share their spirituality.
The couple married in July 2009, with a traditional Vaishnava ceremony, overseen by Priya’s spiritual guru. Today, they have two children – five-year-old Arya Lila and 18-month-old Kailash Nila.
At the heart of all she does, Priya cultivates love for all forms of life, with an attitude of service that is unmistakable. Congratulations to our own Mrs India SA 2016!
What is the Hare Krishna Movement?
Practiced in India since the 15th century, the principles of Hare Krishna were brought to the west 51 years ago by Srila Prabhupada. It is a form of Hinduism, based on compassion, that celebrates simplicity and encourages its followers to strive for spiritual knowledge over material gain.
Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple in Chatsworth is one of Durban’s top tourist destinations. Picture: Bipin Prag
Tags: Mrs India SA crown, pagent, Priya Boshoff, Robin Hood Foundation