Former Mrs South Africa, Joani Johnson, is the CEO and Pageant Director since 2011 and the company has reached new heights under her expert guidance. She has been recognized as a successful entrepreneur and business woman by various publications such as Forbes Magazine, Woman and Home and Finesse as well as been nominated for various awards. She is also the National Director and Founder of Ace Models.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey as an entrepreneur thus far.

I have always been very ambitious, hard working and driven. I completed my degree in Media Studies at the University of Johannesburg in 2006 whilst doing part-time modeling. I founded Ace Models at the age of 24 and the company has grown to over 10 franchises nationwide as well as Namibia. Ace Models is known today as one of the best modeling academies in South Africa.

I won the title of Mrs South Africa in 2009 and went on to compete at Mrs World where I placed in the top 10 finalists. As the title holder, I wanted to put the Mrs South Africa pageant on the map and succeeded in doing so. I bought over the company in 2011 and the pageant has reached new heights since then. This is my fourth consecutive year as the CEO of Mrs South Africa (Pty) Ltd and 2014 has seen the biggest and most successful year to date.

We also launched the “She is Bona Fide” Campaign to showcase that Mrs South Africa is real women – moms, wives and successful career women, and re-launched the Mrs SA brand as a Lifestyle Brand.

I became a Mom in 2011 and recently started the “Mom in Heels Blog” which is a witty and realistic blog about the life of a working mom.

What is your personal motto?

I have had many motto’s and quotes that have inspired me over the years. What it comes down to is that success comes with hard work and dedication and that magic only happens when you are out of your comfort zone.

What is it that you are passionate about?

I am passionate about what I do for a living! Confucius said: “When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life”. That is how I feel about what I do. I think I have the best job in the world and are humbled to be in a position to inspire and empower others. I am also passionate about my family and about Motherhood.

Who or what has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

My Parents: My father has had a significant influence in my life when it comes to business. He taught me that leadership is all about empowering others, to lead by example and to have integrity and a strong work ethic. My mother taught and instilled in me moral, Christian and family values and is my role model when it comes to being a “Mom”.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be unapologetically dynamic and stop worrying what others are saying!

Who or what is your inspiration and why?

I can’t think of anyone specific but women I admire includes Anna Wintour, Oprah, Cindy Nell-Roberts and Batsesane Khumalo.

What advice would you give women wanting to follow her dreams?

Work hard! Be dedicated! Stay focused! Believe in yourself! Be unapologetically dynamic!

What are your top 3 business tips?

  1. Don’t ever apologize for your success!
  2. Hard work and dedication.
  3. Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.

Your favourite daily affirmation:

”For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Your favourite quote?

There was a time when I was scared people would say “Who does she think she is?” Now I have the courage to stand up and say: THIS is who I AM! ~Oprah

Which book are you reading now?

“Nice Girls (still) don’t get the corner office” by Lois P. Frankel. It is about the unconscious mistakes that women make that sabotage their careers.

What book can you read over and over.

Anything by Marian Keyes.

One piece of advice you would like to share?

Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others ~John Maxwell

Is there anything Xtraordinary Women can do to assist you on your journey?

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Joani Johnson
Mrs South Africa