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It’s Vegas for Melinda Bam next week

It was an emotional evening for reigning Miss South Africa Melinda Bam as she bade farewell to family and friends at a private function in Sandton.

Bam was speaking ahead of her trip to the Planet Hollywood resort and casino where the 2012 edition of the Miss Universe pageant will be held.

She will officially fly out on Thursday next week to start preparations and also for the pre-qualifying stages of the competition. Contestants from more than 80 countries around the world will be judged in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and the interview session as they vie for the coveted title of Miss Universe 2012.

Bam said: “I am very excited to participate in Miss Universe. This is the pinnacle of my reign.

“Usually Miss Universe takes place during the course of the year but this year it is in December at the end of my reign, which means I will finish on a high.

“I feel as if I have the support of South Africa to do well in Las Vegas and I am very hopeful. It’s the chance of a lifetime. If I win, many doors will open for me.”

Renowned local fashion designer Peter Bondesio has created Bam’s Miss Universe evening gowns. Bondesio’s designs are modern and finely crafted and his unique but interesting style has won him acclaim among local celebrities.

He said: “I chose green for Melinda’s gown as it perfectly complements her skin tone and eyes.

“It’s a mermaid design, which has a fabulous silhouette and the fabric is light and moveable, enabling her to glide with the volume in the hemline.

“The gown is made using liquid satin, mesh and is embellished with green and bronze diamanté.”

As for the crowning, Bam said that there would be a live video link from Las Vegas to Sun City and even though she would not be physically present, she would be a part of the proceedings.

Go Wild Designs has created her traditional dress for the National Costume ceremony on December 14.

The dress symbolises South Africa’s mineral wealth: gold, silver, platinum, diamonds and charcoal and the panelled long dress has Swarovski beading with a bodice that will make it seem as if she’s dripping in gold.

Bam will be carrying a meranti-wooden sceptre with an 18-carat yellow gold-plated Protea head encrusted with Swarovski crystals.

Her crown is inspired by the South African coat of arms.