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Meeting Miss Benoni – Raquel Coelho

You may not realize it, but Miss Benoni 2023 is in fact a Portuguese girl that is a lifelong resident of Benoni, and what a fabulous young lady she is! Engaging yet humble and very sweet, meet Raquel Coelho, who turns just 19 years old within a couple of days of the interview.

She is dynamic and outgoing and a pleasure to talk to and you can see immediately just why she was the clear winner for this year. She started out schooling at Rynfield Primary, but then homeschooled for her high school education, and it was then that she took to dancing, proving even then that she had what it takes by getting to the level of Premier Champs in freestyle and slow through the Tanique Dance Studio, and dancing throughout Primary school and part of High School, until she had to stop.

Obviously, her talent caught attention and she did a little modeling for the Shapewear Shop, and through that caught the eye of Debbie from Rampage. This got her into the Miss Benoni competition, and in her own words this made her ‘very nervous’, but she ‘felt that she had to do it!’ The modeling part was ok, she tells me with a laugh, but the pageants! As it turned out, everyone in the pageants were fantastic and unique, and everyone helped each other, and it ‘was always fun, with never a dull moment.’

It seems that while she may get lots of nerves before a show, she admits that when she steps out onto the runway, she feels a burst of confidence, and that she does this to enjoy it, it’s not about the win but about the experience. That said, win she does, and whatever she does, she puts her heart into it. At this comment her father laughs and admits that she does indeed have a big heart, and when she does anything, it is with total commitment. She loves doing what she does, however, and isn’t that the road to success, to do what you love? As she got towards the big competition day, she was even offered help by a previous Miss Benoni, Victoria, but when Victoria saw her on stage, it was clear that little help was needed. She recalls the moment when the crowning was to be announced, and the MC of the night said that for some it was like a duck on water, all calm and poise on the surface with the feet paddling madly below, and she says that she knew that he was talking about her.

Miss Benoni Raquel Coelho with her father Ricky Coelho

Then the MC announced the winners, and her name was spoken, and the rest, as they say, is history! Or is it? There are many duties for a Miss Benoni, and she has lots of ideas for things to do, and she intends to make a difference! Curiously enough, she was paired, as is always the case, with a young man that partnered her for the Pageant, and despite the partnering, all contestants are rated individually, yet in this case they were just in sync, and her pageant partner in fact won the Mr. Benoni title!

She is on her way now to do what a winner does, thanks to the support of her sponsors, including Shapewear Shop, Rampage, who also organized the event, and Pablo’s Restaurant in Northmead, who were sponsors for the After Party, and of course with her greatest supporters of all, her very proud father Ricky Coelho and her mother Angelina.

This just goes to show that the Portuguese have both the looks and the drive, the talent and the heart, and we couldn’t be more proud that Miss Benoni is part of our community.

Well done indeed!

Philip Allebone

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